Twice a month, Metropolitan State University student biologists David Watson and Stephen Aderholdt have been slogging through contaminated Bear Creek testing the water, at work on a mystery of how its once-pure currents turned foul.
They’ve documented E. coli bacteria levels up to 19 times higher than the state health limit. “Why is there so much E. coli? Where is it coming from?” Aderholdt, 31, said on the banks on a recent Saturday.
While government agencies have done their own testing and in 2008 deemed Bear Creek officially “impaired,” expanding data gathered by the students — trained by the Environmental Protection Agency and a community group called Groundwork Denver — may be crucial in crafting a cleanup plan.