How to find water quality measurements?

I’ve been reading up on the Buffalo River raw sewage problem today. I’ll probably add something to that thread a little later so if you want to get depressed, keep an eye out for that. One thing, though, I have not been able to find any current water quality measurements online. I thought that was available for just about all USGS-monitored streams but I can’t find it anywhere. Does anybody know where I can get e coli measurements for the Arkansas Buffalo River above and below Pruitt, preferably by month for the last 24+ months?

Polluted rivers…

– Last Updated: Feb-08-10 12:23 AM EST –

I wish you luck.

That is information that a "lot" of people do not think "you" need to know, and a "lot" of people do "not" want you to know.
A prime example is the Eminence to Two Rivers section, on the Current River, which is part of a National Scenic Riverway. A better description of that section of the river would be that it is a National Scenic Sewerway.

Don't want people to start complaining about the pollution.

Don't want the tourists to quit visiting & spending $$$ .

Don't want businesses & cities to have to pay to correctly deal with waste water & solid waste disposal.

Don't have qualified staff, or enough qualified staff to regularly monitor the pollution problem.

Do have people in the know, that will not bring the problems out in the open for fear of losing their jobs.

Do have politicians that are in the back pocket of businessmen.

Do have politicians who are accepting lots of campaign donations from businessmen.

Do have politicians who sqelch complaints to cover the asses of businessmen making money off the tourist trade.

Do have an area that needs tourist $$$.

Solution to the problem:

Do another "study", or if nobody complains; ignore the problem & maintain the status quo.
They have studied the section I identified to death. Have studied it for at least 10 years!
It is still a sewer! It looks like a sewer; it smells like a sewer, and next year it will still be a sewer, look & smell like a sewer.

The state, county, and city politicians, local business people, Dept. of Natural Resources, Dept. of Conservation, National Park Service, National Forest Service, outfitters & locals know that.

Ssshhh! Shut up! Be quiet! We're studying it!

That 2,000 to 3,500 stall horse barn a few hundred feet up the hill from the river doesn't have a thing to do with it, and neither does the city's waste water treatment facility or businesses. That are just peachy keen.

I don't think it's boaters; only the terminally stupid would subject themselves to that trip twice.

I think it "must" be the 50 or so wild horses in the area, or maybe it's the deer, rabbits, squirrels & fish. Pesky little bastards! Kill em all!

Show me the money!!!!


what city in the Buffalo?
Um…that’s an extremely depressed area, what city? Closest one might be Little Rock about 100 miles away and down stream.

Talking cleaning up the waters is fine, assuming anyone had the money to do it locally.

Bill H.

Bungling & passing the buck

– Last Updated: Feb-08-10 12:17 PM EST –

Sounds to me like a lot of stalling, passing the buck, excuses, and denial of the problem is going on there; just as it is on the Ozark Scenic Riverways.

The situation is not a new one; according to some people who should know, there has been a problem at that same location for nearly 10 years. Over time it's just gotten worse.

One of the stalls/excuses being used is, "We don't know who owns the land"? Really? You haven't been able to figure that out in 10 years?

The people who live on the property in question don't know who owns the land? What are they doing; buying or renting from an unknown entity?
Do they send in their mortgage payment, or rental payment to a post office box? P.O. box 117 owns the land, and the checks just pile up in the P.O. box? Post office workers clean out the envelopes in P.O. box 117 every year & throw it all away?

HINT! Where all titles searches on land done before real estate is bought & sold.Ever hear of a title search? Duh!

HINT! Who pays real estate taxes on that property? Real estate taxes are paid at the county court house where I live.
Usually, the people who pay real estate taxes on land also own the land they're paying taxes on.
Maybe they could try to find out who owns the land at the court house? Duh!

Maybe the county assessor can tell them who owns the land? Duh!


There is an amazing lack of
"responsibility to report".

OK Hellbender

– Last Updated: Feb-09-10 12:29 AM EST –

I am not naive; even though on occasion I do go on a windmill tilting quest like Senor Don Quixote.

The pollution of the Ozark Scenic Riverways is one of my favorite windmills to tilt against. Like tilting at windmills; the pollution problems are a NO WIN situation. Things are NOT going to change.

While Emminence certainly does not rival Wall Street; as a financial center; there is money to be made there, and a very small group of people are raking it in.........If you deny that; your are naive. As far as I can see, the money maker's attitude is that the Scenic Riverways be damned,as long as the cash keeps flowing.

Are laws being broken? If polluting a National Scenic Riverway is against the law; then yes, laws are being broken. I place blame on those who pollute.

Who is responsible for seeing that the laws are enforced? It must not be the NPS, MDC, NFS, EPA,DNR, or any other government agency; because the pollution is still occurring. I place blame on those who allow the pollution to continue, whoever they are; government agencies, politicians, or private parties.

Do some private parties in the Eminence area have savvy lawyers? You bet they do.
Do some private parties in the Eminence area have friends in high places? You bet they do.
Do some private parties in the Eminence area use their savvy lawyers & use their friends in high places to maintain the status quo? You bet they do.
I ain't talking about someone slipping the Bubba in camos a fiver under the table.........
What I'm talking about a serious pollution problem that is being ignored, under reported, denied, down played, and the buck passed on. A lot of problems that would be "created" if someone made a "real" effort to clean up the problem are often discussed in public. Reams of reports are written on paper & filed. Very little is actually done after the discussions have ended & the reports written.

Old news: October 06 DNA testing proved that horses are polluting the Jacks Fork River below Eminence.
It was considered highly likely before the test, considering the number of horses & people who show up for cross country trail rides. Now it is up to MDNR to take action.

Old news: September 09 (3 years later) The NPS which manages the Scenic Riverways posted warnings in the Shawnee Creek area after tests found fecal coliform levels that exceeded state standards for recreational contact. The tests also found high levels of E coli bacteria. DNA tests concluded that horses either through direct deposits of manure, or stirring of pre-existing sedidiment 1(more horse manure?)were a primary source of fecal coliform, followed by cattle & sewage.

I am not a city boy. I am not what some call a tree hugger. I was raised in the bootheel & have been canoeing on the Jacks &
Current since the 1950s. I have many relatives & friends who live in & around the area being discussed.
One of my relatives was for many, many years a county agent, livestock specialist, and had a masters degree in that area of expertise. I didn't need him to tell this old bootheel boy that horse crap & cow crap flows downhill, and if the river is downhill; that's where the horse crap & cow crap ends up. And horse crap is the primary cause of the pollution, according to every study I've read.

Every government agency knows the cause!
What are they gonna do about it?
Not a damn thing!
Their hands are tied.

Those 45 thousand dollar dualies, and 35 thousand dollar horse trailers, and some damn high priced horse flesh, with 3 or 4 thousand dollars worth of saddle & tack on em, keep rolling into that little backwoods burg.
The horse crap just "keeps rolling down the river"!
And the money just keeps rolling in..........for a select few.
While other naively float down the sewer, drunk as lords, boom boxes blasting....... all is well on the Jacks Fork.


hijacks okay

That’s okay, I don’t mind hijacks anyway, but in this case what you’re saying may be very relevant to my question and I was just too naive to know what question to ask. I thought that the agencies would be glad to share their water quality data, like most bureaucrats whose job it is to collect numbers. Usually they’re thrilled when somebody asks to look at their work product.

However, in this case, Bob seems to be saying that I should expect some resistance. I never even considered that possibility, and I really did think the data would be readily available online somewhere - that’s why my OP was just asking the question, where do I go to look for this stuff?

If Bob’s right, it sounds like my question should have been, who might have this data and how do I pry the data out of their cold and clammy hands? Surely, if they are required by law to collect and monitor the data, it can’t be legal for them to refuse to release it. Do I need to file an FOI request, or try to get a newspaper on my side?

I have sent an email to the NPS Buffalo River offices, asking that my email be forwarded to the water quality measurement team and asking them for a specific group of data. I’ll wait a week or so for an answer and then maybe start calling on the phone.

Hellbender, you say you’re an agency man, can you suggest anything to help me? Do you have any way of finding out a name at NPS who I can email directly? If so, feel free to use the email link to send it to me back-channel, if you prefer.

memphis , again USGS …

– Last Updated: Feb-09-10 9:56 AM EST –

...... I am able to pull up (every ??) water sample taken and all the parameters (the sample anylisis breakdowns) of the data contained in each sample .

Buffalo river , Pruit .... is there also .

I went further into the link provided to see how detailed the sample reports seemed ... looks very detailed to me ... over my head . You may have more of a desire to disiminate the data than I do , I'm just trying to help you find it .

Lots of codes (their file system) and parameters with individualized data for each .

Have you checked this out already ??

The data is there , it's no secrete ... who does what with it or should/shouldn't do something with it is about politics and law ... the data is about science .

USGS contact page :

as for who to talk with about your concerns (should you chosse to) and ask who is responsible for doing something about any problems , who has the authority to do something , what is being or has been done , my thought would be the Dept. of the Interior :

Some people want to find out things , others just to rant and point fingers at the wind ... good luck in determining which you are .

of interest to you may be the "No Fear Act" (see Whistle Blower Protection laws) :

usgs data
Yes, I’ve looked at that site, and in fact that is what gave me the idea that what I wanted was probably out there on a web site somewhere. The problem with that site is that I can’t find any measurements for biological contamination. They measure various mineral concentrations and pH and conductance and assorted ratios and various other things that I assume are related to pollution, but nothing like “e. coli”. It may be on there, but if so I can’t find it.

Of course, part of the problem may be that I don’t know much about the technical side of water quality science, or the terminology used. Right now I’m just looking for the magic words e-coli.

I hear you memphis …

– Last Updated: Feb-09-10 10:46 AM EST –

...... you may have to dig into the navigation of the site parameters very deep , maybe get some help from a USGS tech. (live) to understand how to do that ,

try starting with Bio. and MicroBio. availability :

there are codes for E-Coli , here are two of them ... 31633 , 31648