Water-Related News

FGCU study: Imperial River has fecal bacteria indicators

Bonita Springs is facing a problem found in other area waterways as indicators of fecal contamination have been found in two popular waterways used by kayakers, paddleboarders and swimmers, and City Council is grappling to find a solution.

A Florida Gulf Coast University study presented to City Council in May showed that traces of enterococcus, a bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans and animals, and E. coli were found in the Imperial River and Spring Creek. The presence of these bacteria tells scientists that dangerous diseases such as cholera or typhoid fever could be hidden in the water.

The study is considered a first step toward identifying the source of fecal indicator bacteria in the waterways, said FGCU professor Donald Duke. University students and faculty took water samples from boat trips three times in a year and took four tests from shore sites near the U. S. 41 bridges.

“We have some understanding now to know that there’s a problem there,” Duke said. “How to solve it will take some further investigations.”