Two streams in Charlottesville are subject of bacterial concern

Two waterways within the city of Charlottesville have “persistently elevated bacteria levels” according to data collected by the Rivanna Conservation Alliance and shared with the city’s water resources staff. 

“Urban streams often have some water quality impairment due to the developed nature of the lands that drain into them,” reads an information release from the city of Charlottesville. 

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has declared as impaired the Rivanna River, Moores Creek, Schenks Branch and Lodge Creek due to high levels of sediment and bacteria.

Ongoing monitoring by the Rivanna Conservation Alliance shows that Pollocks Branch and Meade Creek both have elevated levels of bacteria following rainstorms. Pollocks Branch flows underground in a pipe from the Downtown Mall to the Ix Art Park, after which it daylights through property owned by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority before getting to Moores Creek. 

Meade Creek is in the Belmont neighborhood between Garden Street and Walnut Street. 

“The City and RCA are working together to identify and address the sources of the elevated bacteria levels,” the release continues. “Until further notice, the public is advised to avoid direct contact with these streams.”

Elevated levels of bacteria raise the risk of illness through pathogenic organisms that may be in the water. People shouldn’t drink any of the water and should use sanitizer where water has come into contact with the skin. 

To learn more about how the RCA monitors bacteria levels, visit their website at

A map of waterways in Charlottesville. Click here for a larger version

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the August 30, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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