Water Quality of Peralta and Courtland Creek Oakland, CA

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Alan Ahumada, Kim Ling Zhen, Xochitl Ponce, Ashanti Johnson, Noe Varela, Diego Quintero, Gerardo Hernandez and Esosa Oghogho, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States
Authors: Allan Ahumada, Aminah Butler, Mellany Davis, Yarely Guzman, Micah

Johnson, Xochitl Ponce, Kim Zhen

Abstract: Beginning in the summer of 2012 and continuing to the present time our

group has been assessing the water quality of Courtland Creek, which flows from

Northeast to Southwest in East Oakland, California. During the summer of 2014 we

began assessing the water quality at nearby Peralta Creek to compare the health

of Courtland Creek with another one within the same watershed. In making our

assessment we have analyzed samples collected from three different sites along both

creeks for Nitrate, Phosphate, and Ammonia concentration levels. Additionally, we

conducted benthic macroinvertebrate surveys at one site along each creek. Preliminary

results indicate that nitrate levels in Courtland Creek waters are very high, which we

believe is the result of human and animal waste entering into the creek. There were also

unusually high levels of Phosphate and Ammonia detected in creek waters. Such high

concentrations were noted in a past study and in an attempt to address this problem we

initiated a native plant restoration project at one particular site located at the intersection

of Courtland and Thompson avenues. This effort has resulted in a reduction in levels

of Nitrate, Phosphate and Ammonia. The average levels of these compounds in waters

collected near the restoration site were lower than those found in samples collected at

other sites. However, they are still well above levels that are harmful to invertebrates

and fish. Nitrate, Phosphate and Ammonia concentration levels in samples collected

from Peralta Creek were significantly lower than those collected from Courtland Creek.

For example, the maximum level of nitrate detected in Courtland Creek waters was

50 PPM while the maximum found in Peralta Creek waters was 15 PPM. We have

concluded that the observed high levels of various compounds are the result of animal

waste and human feces spilling directly into Courtland Creek. Results from a recent

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - led E. coli survey that included this watershed

supports this claim.