Monitoring the Cahaba
Monitoring the Cahaba.
Before Birmingham resident David Butler became the Cahaba riverkeeper three years ago, he took over a canoeing and kayaking business along the Cahaba River.
This group created Swim Guide to answer questions about river safety.
When this happens, Butler said they quickly direct the data from the problems to the responsible party, wastewater plant or appropriate authorities.
So far, Swim Guide has been funded entirely by donations and grants.
Butler said this is one of the fundamental things about the work they do, because it inspires people to take action to make sure the river isn’t polluted with chemicals, wastewater or trash.
Randall Haddock, the Cahaba River Society field director, said part of the way for residents to address water quality problems is for them to address the municipal courts and encourage them to take stormwater permits and wastewater management into account.
Butler, who is part of the petition, said the end goal is for the state to require each wastewater treatment plant to “adopt a framework to deal with when they have an incident that affects water quality on any water body that people might swim or fish or paddle in.” “Up to this point, they’ve declined to do that, and by the conditions of their permit, they’re required to do it, give a public notice, but there’s no official definition to what public notice means currently,” Butler said.
Butler said the information that Swim Guide shares each Friday is picked up quickly, especially if there’s a problem with a site.
Swimming or fishing in water contaminated with E. coli or high bacteria levels can cause gastrointestinal problems, vomiting and diarrhea.