It was back in November 2007 that I set out to, once and for all, find out what the deal is with Bayou Texar and why it is closed for public use so often. Most, if not all, of the time because of high levels of fecal matter. I interviewed people in the city and county who not only were aware of the longstanding water quality issue there but who would be involved in making recommendations to the city for remedial action. They included the Health Department, the ECUA, and a professor of biology at UWF.
The culmination of that research is represented in a post here entitled Cleaning Up Bayou Texar dated January 6, 2008. At that time, I was encouraged to learn that a water quality study was already underway under the auspices of Dr. Richard (Dick) Snyder, professor of biology at the University of West Florida. And an update to the Jan 6 post was made on January 8, 2008 that summed up where we were at that point in time. It boiled down to the fact that his study would not be completed until late in 2009 or early 2010, which brings us up to date.
UPDATE 01/08/08: Dr. Richard (Dick) Snyder, the biologist responsible for the current study, was prompt to reply to questions I had regarding the study. Thank you Dick for your quick reply. These were the questions . . .
When do you anticipate completing the report? Will the report, or the work being undertaken to produce a report, actually determine the sources or pathology of the fecal contamination as relates to specific properties along the waterway, including rainwater runoff sources? After determining what is happening to the bayou and why things are happening to the bayou, will making recommendations for remediation of the waterway be part of your report or subsequent reports? Is the subject study a UWF financed project or a federal, state, county or city grant-financed project? Basically, who is paying for it?
This is Dr. Snyder’s reply, which addresses every question, in his own words.
The study will be done over two years to incorporate annual variation in water levels. We will try to identify contaminated ground water as opposed to runoff, with the idea that the groundwater will more likely be septic or sewer malfunction. The data will be given to the DOH and ECUA for them to address any identified problems. Financing is from a fine levied against the Target Corp. for contaminating Carpenter’s Creek, through the West Florida Planning Council and with input from the Bayou Texar Foundation, who is providing some additional funding.
So from the standpoint of what happens next as far as sewage in the bayou is concerned, we wait for the report in late 2009 or early 2010. I suppose we can rest easy in the fact that there are no septic systems in use on the bayou itself. The problem appears to be upstream. Meanwhile, residents around Carpenter’s Creek should know to keep an eye out for septic system failures or sewage system failures and report them to the Health Department (595-6722) or the ECUA (969-3303).
It was with eager anticipation that I followed up with Dick yesterday to get a progress report. With the Bayou Texar water quality still coming up in the local media from time to time, I was confident that soon we would be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. Was I ever wrong, and were we ever duped into thinking that the city finally took Bayou Texar seriously.
Dr. Snyder’s reply, short and not so sweet. . .
We were never able to do the study. The funds were diverted to the City of Pensacola’a storm water refit project for the area.
related link: Cleaning Up Bayou Texar