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Posted on: April 8, 2022

UPDATE: Bacteria Levels in Pollocks Branch Have Returned to Normal

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April 8, 2022

UPDATE: Bacteria Levels in Pollocks Branch Have Returned to Normal

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - After water quality monitoring conducted by the Rivanna Conservation Alliance (RCA) in March detected elevated E. coli levels in Pollocks Branch, City crews investigated the surrounding area in an attempt to identify the source of the problem.  The investigation did not reveal a discreet source of the E. coli contamination.  RCA conducted two rounds of follow-up monitoring; the first round showed declining levels of E. coli, and the second round showed that levels had returned to normal.

Given the steady decrease in E. coli levels and the lack of evidence of a source of the E. coli, the elevated levels were likely related to rainfall and associated runoff.  RCA will continue to conduct monthly bacteria monitoring on Pollocks Branch.  For more information on RCA’s bacteria monitoring efforts visit .

Urban streams, by the very nature of the lands that drain into them, often have water quality challenges.  That in and of itself does not mean that it is dangerous to interact with these waterways.  It does mean that it is always advisable to follow some practical guidelines when interacting with urban streams:

  • Do not come into contact with streams during or soon after a rain event.  Levels of pollutants in the stream are higher at these times because they are carried into streams by rainwater via the stormwater drainage system.
  • Do not come into contact with streams if you have any open cuts or sores on your body.
  • Always wash hands or use hand sanitizer after being in contact with streams, and especially before eating.
  • Do not ingest any of stream water or sediment; avoid getting stream water in your eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. 
  • Wear shoes to protect your feet.

For additional information, please contact Water Resources Specialist Dan Frisbee at 434-970-3997 or

Media Contact
David Dillehunt
Interim Deputy Director of Communications
City of Charlottesville

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