Concern and assurance over E.Coli levels in Cedar River - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Concern and assurance over E.Coli levels in Cedar River

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AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) -

People have been concerned about the cleanliness of the water in the Cedar River Watershed District after a recent report on E.Coli levels.  Some say the water isn't safe for people to be out in it, others say it's fine if people take safety precautions.

An environmental organization known as the Izaak Walton League recently conducted the Cedar River Watershed Project.  Forty volunteer stream monitors drew around 500 samples from 83 sites and tested for E.Coli.  They found that around 70% of samples had contamination that exceeded human health standards for body contact.  While people have been concerned about the water, members of the Mower Soil and Water Conservation District say outdoor activities are still safe.

"It is safe to use our rivers," says Watershed Technician James Fett, "It's safe to canoe and kayak and go fishing in our rivers and even swimming is ok.  As long as you don't ingest the water or go into the water with open sores or anything like that, there's nothing to worry about." 

Larry Dolphin is with the Izaak Walton League.  His organization has been examining E.Coli levels in several bodies of water in the area.  He says he's not too sure about outdoor activities in the Cedar River.

"How safe is it? That's hard for me to say," Dolphin explains, "I'm probably reluctant to have my grandkids go swimming in it and putting my head under the water in it.  And how much of it? You know, in some places, we found thirty, forty times what was acceptable." 

Dolphin says the Izaak Walton League is working with rural homeowners to bring sewage dispersal to comply with state health standards.  

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