Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Northeast
District partners with the Duval County Health Department and
City of Jacksonville's Regulatory and Environmental Services
Department to provide quarterly water quality reports on
tributaries of the St.
Johns River in Duval County. Each agency is responsible for
different aspects of
environmental and public health protection.
The Lower St. Johns River Fecal Coliform BMAP Technical Working Group
is developing an implementation plan resulting from the collaborative
effort of local stakeholders to identify and implement strategies to
eliminate fecal coliform sources in the tributaries.
- Ortega and Cedar River
- Broward River
and Dunn Creek
- Julington and Durbin Creeks
- Pablo Creek and Greenfield/Mt. Pleasant
- Mill Cove/Arlington Area
- Downtown Area
- Southside Area Trout River
Please contact the
Duval County Health Department for
information about potential health risks in the tributaries.
What restoration activities are taking place in the tributaries?
Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) are water quality targets, based on
state water quality standards for specific pollutants. As required by federal law, DEP
has identified tributaries impaired by fecal coliform.
TMDLs for the the Lower St. Johns River Basin tributaries
What are fecal coliform bacteria?
Fecal coliform bacteria are microorganisms associated with the
intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals. While generally not dangerous,
these bacteria are used for routine water quality monitoring since they
indicate the presence of pollution that may contain illness-producing
bacteria and viruses.
How long has this pollution been a problem?
Bacteria pollution was first documented in the St. Johns River in the
1950s. By eliminating direct sewage discharges and hundreds of small,
inefficient sewage package plants, the City dramatically lowered
bacteria levels in the river's main stem. Because of the unique nature
of the river and Jacksonville's high population density, many other
sources of bacteria remain.
What agencies are responsible for solving this problem?
State and local government agencies are working together to protect
public health and the environment.
- Duval County Health Department (DCHD) aims to prevent or reduce potential health risks in daily
surroundings. The health department is responsible for permitting
septic tanks and issuing health advisories.
- The City of Jacksonville monitors water quality in Duval County
and provides data to state, regional and local agencies charged with
permitting activities that may impact surface water quality.
- The Department of Environmental Protection implements a
wide range of programs to protect and restore Florida's surface
the Total Maximum Daily Load program,
or TMDL, which identifies water quality problems and
establishes clean-up objectives.
Where does bacteria pollution come from?
Sources of bacteria include bypassed and failing septic tanks,
stormwater runoff, sanitary sewer overflows, leaking sewer pipes,
failing package wastewater treatment plants, livestock operations, domestic
pets, and wild animals.
Is bacteria a problem in the St. Johns River?
While bacteria levels in many tributaries remain high, levels of
fecal coliform in the river's main stem are usually well below the State
Water Quality Standard.
What can I do to help?
Learn about the creeks and streams in your watershed. Join a
volunteer monitoring program. Inform elected officials and government
agencies about pollution problems and concerns in your area.
To report spills or other emergency pollution events contact: