San Diego County Chapter


Blue Water Task Force Volunteers

Interested in Volunteering?

Attend an upcoming monthly volunteer meeting for more information. We meet every 3rd Monday of the month. Check out our Events Calendar for details and instructions on joining the meeting.


Water Quality Monitoring

Click to view, print and download information about our weekly water quality sampling process.

Water sampling Procedures
Data sheet (Printable)
Silver strand state beach research permit

Lab Processing and Data

Click to view, print and download information about our weekly water quality monitoring process.

Check out the data
Lab Processing Procedures
Database Log-in

List of Sampling Sites, Groups, and Lab Locations

Scanning electron micrograph of enterococci. Photo: Lisac Mark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

What are you testing for?

We are testing for Enterococcus, a fecal indicator bacteria. The EPA uses this bacteria as an indicator to determine if a recreational area is safe for public use. Enterococci are indicators of the presence of fecal material in water and therefore, of the possible presence of other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. These pathogens can sicken swimmers and others who use rivers and streams for recreation or eat raw shellfish or fish. Other potential health effects can include diseases of the skin, eyes, ears, and respiratory tract.

The Enterolert Test uses a proprietary nutrient indicator to detect enterococci. This nutrient indicator fluoresces when metabolized by enterococci.

How do you test for Enterococcus?

We use an EPA-approved 24-hour detection test, Enteroalert by IDEXX.

Samples are diluted and mixed with a reagent. Then they are sealed in Quanti-Trays and incubated over a 24-hour period. The following day, the Quanti-Trays are examined under a UV light for fluorescent indicators. The number of fluorescent squares present on a Quanti-Tray is used to determine the bacterial levels using a most probable number (MPN) method.