Calusa Waterkeeper finds high levels of bacteria in Billy Creek

Published: April 20, 2022 6:03 PM EDT
Updated: April 20, 2022 6:13 PM EDT

A creek isn’t clearing up after years of problems. The Calusa Waterkeeper says there’s a high level of contamination in Billy Creek. The place is known for being a health concern.

The view of the water may be great, but it’s what’s under Billy’s Creek that scares Neil Wilkinson, a retired instructor with FGCU’s Marine and Ecological Sciences Program who lives on Billy’s Creek.

“The bacterial levels are off the chart, it’s, you know, it’s not a happy thing to say you live on the most polluted creek in Southwest Florida,” said Wilkinson.

Wilkinson lives along the fecal contaminated waters.

“I touched the water. I washed like three times,” said Wilkinson.

Every time anyone touches this polluted water they’re at risk. Calusa Waterkeeper monitors the bacteria in Billy Creek and said the bacterial levels are off the charts.

WINK News asked Wilkinson how it got so dangerous.

“It’s poop, it’s going to, it’s, it’s fertilizer, it’s going to feed things that the plants that take advantage of that, and some of the bacteria that take advantage of that, for a lot of these harmful, cause harmful algal blooms, as the algae feeds on the bacteria that fertilizer, they expand, they bloom and these huge numbers, this whole area has been completely filled with blue-green algae at times,” said Wilkinson.

To fix this problem, he said the City of Fort Myers needs to replace the pipes that go through the creek.

“So leaking raw humans sewage, into the groundwater, and then into billy’s creek and do something about that it’s not this problem is not something that we cannot fix, we can fix it,” said Wilkinson.

It is too soon to know if infrastructure money will be available to replace the pipes.

Another big problem Wilkinson sees is people use the dirty water to fish, raft and kayak.  He said there need to be more signs warning everyone that the water is not safe to even touch.