Health Department Announces Bacteria, Parasite Testing at Local Swimming Holes

By KOLR10 News

Published 06/05 2014 06:15PM

Updated 06/05 2014 06:22PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – With summer time upon us, and people making plans to enjoy local streams and rivers, the Springfield-Greene County Health department announces plans to monitor select locations for the presence of E. coli and coliform bacteria.

Recreational waterways can offer some relief from the heat, but can also contain harmful bacteria and parasites.

In a partnership with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is hoping to give swimmers information on the quality of water in local swimming locations.

Samples are collected from five area swimming locations weekly by the Watershed Committee, and tested by the health department lab staff.

The health department says sites are selected based on their accessibility and the likelihood that people might come in contact with the water.

Those locations are on:
  • The James River
  • Galloway Creek
  • Lake Springfield
  • Little Sac River
  • Wilson Creek
The health department does not regulate these sites in any way, and these samples are not required to be collected under any state or federal rules. The information is provided as a community service, according to the health department.

The health department says the E. coli count will give an indication of how much fecal water contamination there is.

Testing normally runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The current results can be found on the health department's website.

Results are generally updated on Wednesdays.

The following are tips provided by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to help protect your family from recreational water illnesses:

Do not swim after heavy rains, or if the water is murky. Bacterial levels are often high in stormwater runoff.

Do not swim when you have diarrhea. You may spread bacteria and make other people sick.

Do not swallow swimming water; and if possible avoid getting it in your mouth altogether.

Practice good hygiene. Bacteria from your hands could end up on your food.

When water is contaminated or conditions are uncertain, avoid full-body contact water activities such as swimming and diving.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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