Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, the Mill Creek Water Quality Monitoring Program continues to be a great success! Our volunteers visit 45 sites throughout the Mill Creek Watershed to collect water samples and make observations. A group of citizen scientists analyze the samples after they are collected.
Volunteers collect and analyze stream samples from sites throughout the Mill Creek Watershed every 2nd Saturday of the month through the method of grab sampling. The water is tested for:
Contact Emma to volunteer in 2016!
Mill Creek Data
- April 12 2014
- May 10 2014
- June 14, 2014
- July 12 2014
- Aug 9 2014
- September 13, 2014
- October 11, 2014
- November 8, 2014
Summary of 2014 Findings
- Conclusions for Mill Creek Mainstem
- Upper Mill Creek Water Reclamation Facility is a source of nutrients and conductivity that enhances downriver productivity (pH increases), but does not exceed OEPA guidance for urban MWWH river.
- A wet July was the dominant hydrographic force generating the highest values of many parameters as expected.0
- Something unusual happened at Muhlhauser Road site in Sept. 2014 to increase turbidity downriver significantly.
- Conclusions from Tributaries of Mill Creek
- Conductivity in Lick Run and from the Upper Mill Creek Water Reclamation Facility were the highest.
- Nitrate was highest in the East Fork of the Mill Creek from UMCWRF.
- TP was highest in Lick Run, raw sewage most of the time.
- E. coli in tributaries was greater than 1030 mpn/100ml in 25% of samples.
- Best water quality were in the West Fork of the Mill Creek in 2014 draining Winton Lake. Sharon and Amberley Creeks were good as well.
- Percent E.coli of total coliforms was high in many tributaries indicating recent fecal contamination.
Summary of 2013 Findings
- Vegetation appears to reduce pulse runoff maxima in summer by evaporation & transpiration
- Total phosphorus is high even for an urban stream with modified warm water habitat expectation
- E. coli are too high on days of high discharge
- Conductivity as a measure of salt may be an impairment on days of very low flow and after snow melt in spring
- We have a base line to compare data from subsequent years
Program Funding and Support
The Mill Creek Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program was made possible by generous grants and funding from Patagonia, Butler County Storm Water District, and Northern Kentucky University. We are very grateful to the Butler County Water & Sewer Department and their supportive staff for providing the lab space and direction for the program. Support through advancement in technology is provided by RA Consultants, LLC and Liquid. The Council thanks the committed volunteers for their dedication to making this program successful.
Water Quality Trends
Many improvement projects have been implemented in the Mill Creek Watershed by a variety of entities. Since 1992, water quality, as indexed by Ohio EPA’s biocriteria, has shown marked improvement. We believe this trend will continue as long as the watershed’s key stakeholders continue efforts to improve the stream and its tributaries. It is our goal to collect better information to rate the effectiveness of specific projects and policy changes to achieve water quality and habitat benefits.
This program establishes a rigorous watershed-wide monitoring program that builds on existing water quality data collection. These water quality data will be assessed and tracked by the Council’s Water Resource Committee, and will allow us to implement stream and habitat restoration improvement projects from a direct analysis of water quality and stream and riparian habitat data in the Mill Creek. By reaching out to the community for volunteers, we will continue to establish a better connection between the community and their water resource. Regular and consistent monitoring also allows us to wisely invest scare resources to maximize water quality improvement in the Mill Creek Watershed, an investment that improves the quality of life for everyone in Greater Cincinnati.