Daphne launches water quality testing, website monitoring bacteria levels


    (image: WPMI) Daphne launches water quality testing, website for public safety

    The city of Daphne is now regularly testing the bacteria levels of Mobile Bay waters and providing results in real time through a recently launched website.

    Daphne city officials said the water quality testing is a cooperative effort between Daphne Utilities, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and an independent consulting firm.

    The Eastern Shore's scenic access points to Mobile Bay offer a playground for fishermen, boaters, or any lover of the outdoors.

    But locals know it comes with the chance of dangerous bacteria levels, which have been reported repeatedly in the past.

    "I do a lot of fishing and I spend a lot of time on the water. So it's concerning to eat the fish or to even play in the water with my kids or with my dogs," said Matthew Wood, a Daphne resident.

    But the city of Daphne is now working to stay one step ahead.

    New, regular testing is being done at 4 sites, including Bayfront Park, Stedman's Landing, May Day Park, and D'Olive Bay boat launch. Results of the testing are released in real time on the city's website.

    The results are displayed with green for acceptable, yellow for caution, or red for possibly harmful.

    Mack Mckinnerney, a Fairhope fisherman, said he thinks it's a great idea.

    "To know that you have a site that we can come and check, it's extremely important for fishermen, kids, everyone that comes down to the Bay," Mckinnerney said.

    Dane Haygood, Mayor of Daphne, said it's a cooperative effort between Daphne Utilities, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and an independent contractor.

    The testing is in response to water quality questions, as well as complaints filed against Daphne Utilities. Lawsuits claim the company has not reported, or under reported sewage spills.

    "There's an opportunity to be a leader with this, and to be transparent with this. And then as we start having some of these issues, lets make sure we're investigating why those things are occurring," said Haygood.

    Haygood says the company is shelling out roughly $20 thousand to fund the latest testing.

    Rick Fine, a Daphne resident, said he's glad it's being done, but hopes more will be done to keep sewage overflows from every happening.

    "I don't think we should be building new subdivisions until we know we have the infrastructure to support it and keep this from happening. This is a very special place in the world," Fine said.

    Haygood said testing is taking place monthly, but will increase to every week during the summer months, when heavy rainfall, and recreational activity, is more frequent.

    You can find the city's results on their website by following this link: https://bit.ly/2EnkgG4

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