Sedona AZ (July 26, 2021) – Water quality counts taken between 8:50 and 11:18 a.m. on July 24, 2021 show E.coli levels at all test sites above the state and federal water quality E.coli limit of 235 Colony Forming Units (CFU)/100mL of water for recreational swimming. This is believed to be due from the heavy rain events experienced this weekend, after almost no 2020 monsoon season.
The 235 CFU/100 mL of water limit is a surface water quality standard specific to E.coli set to protect public health.
A map of the testing locations:
At around 4 p.m. on July 23, 2021, rain water inundated the city of Sedona’s El Camino Lift Station at 700 El Camino Rd. and overwhelmed the pump system, causing a sewage spill to occur. The spill was stopped within 30 minutes.
It is estimated approximately 1,500 gallons of untreated liquid effluent spilled into a nearby wash. That wash flows into Carroll Canyon Wash, which ultimately drains into Oak Creek near the Crescent Moon Ranch area, approximately 2.7 miles downstream. The untreated liquid effluent entering Oak Creek is highly diluted by the rain occurring at the time of the spill.
For context, the volume of effluent translates to approximately 0.11 cubic feet per second. For comparison, Oak Creek’s rate of flow during this rain event was just under 900 cubic feet per second.
These results were sent to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). Residents should take extreme caution when recreating in Oak Creek, especially after storm events when E.coli levels are highest.
The immediately affected areas near Crescent Moon Ranch swimming area have signage posted warning of high levels of E.coli. The city also hand-delivered information on this spill to residents near Crescent Moon Ranch with direct creek access located downstream from the spill.
Water quality tests will be reported again on Monday, July 26, 2021 to compare E.coli levels.
The city will continue to keep the community informed as new information becomes available. For sewer spill emergencies, call the city’s sewer emergency hotline at (928) 203-5180.