Alabama will crackdown on E. coli bacteria in rivers with revised standards.
Wastewater treatment facilities in the state will face tighter limits from the new standards, which were approved by the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, Al.com reported. The existing five-year permits are valid until they expire, but all new or renewed permits issued by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management going forward will include the new standards.
E. coli bacteria is typically found in the lower intestines of warm-blooded animals, including humans. The bacteria may cause several illnesses including diarrhea.
Its presence in waterways is a common indicator of a sewage spill.
The E. coli limit that applies during that summer season was lowered from 487 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters of water to 298 col/100mL, roughly a 40 percent decrease.
The changes were approved at the Commission's December meeting and took effect on February third.
Water conservation groups petitioned the Commission in 2016 to crack down on sanitary sewer overflows and public notifications of spills. Those petitioning groups are praising the new standards.