It's hard to tell where the sources are coming from and teams are trying to find the source of the bacteria, said Miller.
He also said nutrients are high below the city's wastewater plant, which affects animals and fish. Nutrients suck up the oxygen in the water at night and huge amounts can kill fish.
Phosphorus levels also are high upstream near American Greetings off Lebanon Road.
The forum was sponsored by Clark's Run Environmental & Educational Corp., organized in 2005 by local citizens interested in cleaning up the Clark's Run watershed area.
Rose-Marie Roessler, biology instructor at Centre College and president of CREEC, talked about the organization's goals: improve and protect water, continue to develop the recreational trail along the creek, conduct watershed educational programs, work with the state Division of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Dix River groups and local government agencies, plant nature shrubs and wildflowers along the creek bank, and develop a watershed educational plan.
Trees have big impact
She said planting trees has been the biggest impact because they filter the creek water. The group also plans to clear honeysuckle from the walking trail and better maintain it.
CREEC has applied for a grant to build a trail for bikers and walkers.
"If you have a concern with water quality in your backyard, we want to be there to help you out," Roessler concluded.
Ann Young said when the cleanup began, she had no idea of the condition of Clark's Run.
She said 20 tons of trash had been pulled out of the creek in four years. She said the next cleanup will be March 31.
Cleanup efforts began in 1990s
Other speakers included Malissa McAlister of the University of Kentucky Water Research Institute, who gave a history of Clark's Run Creek, which originates near Alum Springs and runs through the industrial area on Lebanon Road, and into Danville along the railroad, stockyards and Kentucky School for the Deaf property. It joins Balls Branch on Lancaster Road before it enters Herrington Lake near Bryant's Camp Marina.
In the 1990s, two landfills were located along the creek, but are now closed. The creek has been the site of industrial, stormwater and treated wastewater discharges.
Efforts to begin a cleanup began in the 1990s when Boyle County students began sampling the creek and Centre College students began its annual Creek Cleanup. The state Division of Water began a study in 1995 after a major fish kill caused by a chlorine spill at the sewage treatment plant.
Grants have been received for cleanups, education and a trail along the creek, said McAlister. In 2002, Clark's Run was put on a list of polluted streams by the Division of Water.
The city began a streambank reforestation project in 2004 when 300 volunteers planted 2,800 native tree seedlings. A trail also has been built along the creek in town.
The state began in 2005 to develop a Clean Water Action Plan for Clark's Run and Dix River watersheds. Clark's Run was selected as a priority watershed by the state Watershed Management Committee.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also is interested in the Clark's Run, Hanging Fork, Dix River and Herrington Lake watersheds, said Andrea Zimmer, of the EPA's southeastern regional office in Atlanta.
She said the EPA can join with other agencies to promote watershed approaches to help water quality. Watershed planning is a way to look at the past, present and future uses of water, she added.
Zimmer also said everyone contributes to pollution problems in water, and by working together changes in behavior that cause the problem can be made to improve water quality.
"We need partners to help with monitoring, treatment and restoration techniques," she said. Action has to be taken at the local level to do long-term changes.
EPA needs assistance to identify priority watershed and will select a few to focus on, she said. The EPA's role is to answer questions that come up and to help local communities achieve watershed goals, she said.
Clark's Run is one of five priority watersheds in Kentucky, said Lee Coulton of the state Division of Water, which offers resources to help with local watersheds.
"Let us know how we can help," he told the crowd.
Measures to improve
Josh Morgan, who works with the city of Danville, said the city is working on several control measures to improve water:
* public education and involvement, working with PRIDE, schools and CREEC.
* inspecting construction site runoffs and enforcing erosion control practices.
* stormwater management concerning development and water quality standards.
* not allowing any construction within 30 feet of a creek.
* having a greenway along creeks, and a cemetery master plan.
Duane Campbell, county engineer, said progress has been made along the watershed area. The landfills have been closed and a sewer line has been constructed along Alum Springs Crosspike and the industrial area.
The county also has begun to issue permits for construction in floodplain areas and maintenance work around culverts and bridges.