Tanyard Creek, Atlanta, Georgia, Saturday afternoon. This poor little urbanized waterway has faced more than its fair share of challenges, from flash flooding due to all the urban pavement in its upstream catchment to sewage overflows and fish kills. Despite all this, it still remains beautiful.
The neighborhood takes water samples from the creek every Thursday and delivers them to the Chattahoochee Riverkeepers for analysis of E. coli. The EPA considers levels above 250 mpn to be unsafe - only once has Tanyard Creek has been below the safe level in 2013.
This summer has been particularly problematic, with readings of 2,370 (5/16/13), 120,980 (7/2/13), 60,165 (8/1/13), and most recently 675 (8/15/13), which sounds good compared to the previous readings, but is still over two-and-a-half times the EPA safe level. If you want to see readings since 2010, you can go to http://georgiaadoptastream.com/db/Sites.asp (enter "Tanyard Creek" to get the results).
"I love that dirty water," The Standells sang back in 1966. It may take a certain leap of faith to love the Charles River, but the beauty of Tanyard Creek certainly appeals for better treatment than it's receiving.