Extensive water quality monitoring by the Loxahatchee River District, in partnership with the Town of Jupiter and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has shown consistently high fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) levels in Jones Creek canals. These bacteria are commonly found in the guts of humans and animals (dogs, racoons, and even wading birds). These bacteria also naturally occur in certain habitats, like mangrove swamps. In Jones Creek bacteria (enterococci) concentrations are often far above (20 to 80x) the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommended Beach Action Value (BAV) of 71 MPN/100mL for recreational waters. This is a concern because these tidal mangrove creeks are utilized by the public for recreation (e.g., boating, kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing).
The best available information suggests the high bacteria levels in Jones Creek are, in large part, the result the extensive leaf litter and vegetation debris in the poorly flushed, choked waterway. Other factors may include animal excrement (predominantly dogs, racoons, and wading birds) entering the waterway, and other natural causes. Despite all properties in the basin served by central sewer (i.e. no septic systems), molecular analysis of water quality samples in 2019 and 2020 also indicated very low concentrations of human sewage, possibly a single household, and we are working to identify the likely source(s).
The Department of Health advises against consuming fish or swimming in waters with high bacteria counts. We urge residents to pick up dog waste and never dump pollutants or refuse, including grass clippings, fish or other carcasses, into natural waterways, canals, or storm drains.
The Loxahatchee River District, Town of Jupiter and Florida Department of Environmental Protection are working to better understand the issue, and help develop sensible solutions. For more information, please see the links below.
Two projects are in the planning stages that are intended to provide water quality improvements are: 1) the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), Innovative Technology Water Quality Improvement Grant winning Nano Bubble Ozone Technology (NBOT) Project/Study, and 2) the vegetation trimming project through the Town of Jupiter and Residents.
Water Quality Instrumentation
Results July 30, 2019 through October 9, 2019
For additional information, please see:
• Town of Jupiter’s
• Loxahatchee River District’s
- New! Nano Bubble Ozone Technology (NBOT) Project Fact Sheet
- New! Jones Creek Fecal Indicator Bacteria, Genetic Markers, Chemical Indicators, and Turbidity 2019-2021 Study Summary by LRD and DEP
- Jones Creek Fecal Indicator Bacteria and Turbidity Monitoring – Preliminary Findings Summary, December 2019
- Jones Creek Water Quality Investigation Update April 2019
- Jones Creek Presentation to the LRD Governing Board August 2017
- Jones Creek Septic Tank / Water Quality Investigation 1995
- Jones Creek Historical Aerial Photos
- Weekly Bacteria Testing Results
- RiverKeeper Water Quality Monitoring Program