Carpenter Creek Bacteria Pollution Control Plan
The Carpenter Creek watershed is approximately 6,760 acres or 10.5 square miles. The headwaters of the creek are located in south-central Escambia County, north of Interstate 10 and west of Interstate 110. The creek generally flows southeast under Olive Road, I-10, Burgess Road, I-110, Davis Highway, Airport Boulevard, Brent Lane, Ninth Avenue, and 12th Avenue before entering Bayou Texar. Carpenter Creek is the only significant freshwater tributary of Bayou Texar. The Bayou Texar watershed includes approximately 5,266 acres or 8.2 square miles of additional drainage area not already included within the Carpenter Creek watershed. Watersheds are identified by the State of Florida by waterbody identification numbers, or WBIDs. Carpenter Creek is WBID #676; Bayou Texar is WBID #738.
Both Carpenter Creek and Bayou Texar have been verified by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as impaired for fecal coliform bacteria. In 2012, FDEP adopted a fecal coliform Total Maximum Daily Load for both water bodies. Bacteria reductions are necessary for these water bodies to meet surface water quality standards. TMDLs require a fecal coliform reduction of 28 percent and 49 percent for the creek and bayou, respectively.
Escambia County and its co-permittees, Florida Department of Transportation, City of Pensacola, and Town of Century, have a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit authorizing the discharge of stormwater from the municipal separate storm sewer system to waters of the state. As a condition of this permit, the co-permittees are required to address one TMDL without an approved Basin Management Action Plan per five-year permit cycle. The Carpenter Creek fecal coliform TMDL was identified by the co-permittees as the top priority for the current permit cycle. The Bayou Texar fecal coliform TMDL was ranked second.
A Bacteria Pollution Control Plan has been implemented for Carpenter Creek to achieve the fecal coliform load reductions required by the TMDL. It is anticipated that the BPCP will accomplish the following goals:
- Establish a water quality monitoring and assessment program
- Engage stakeholders
- Identify likely sources of fecal loading throughout the watershed by the implementation of a “Maps on the Table” and “Walk the WBID”
- Identify and track existing project within the watershed with a potential to reduce fecal coliform loading
- Identify the need for new projects
- Report findings annually
Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Program
Escherichia coli, or E. coli, bacteria and a number of field parameters are sampled at five locations in the Carpenter Creek watershed every month. Monitoring began in January of 2016 and is ongoing. The first annual status report includes the 2016 data collected under the Carpenter Creek BPCP. The 2016 data confirms that Carpenter Creek is indeed impaired as a Class III freshwater waterbody for the bacteriological criteria of E. coli. The criterion states that samples are not to exceed 410 MPN/100mL E. coli for more than 10 percent of the samples within a reporting period. As a whole, the 2016 data set exceeded this 10 percent threshold value, or TPTV, 43 percent of the time. The geometric mean for 2016 E. coli data was 368 MPN/100 mL.