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Water contamination in local streams and rivers could make swimmers think twice before diving in. KSMU's Kristian Kriner reports.
The Springfield Health Department is testing five local recreational swimming areas for E Coli.
These five areas are Wilson's Creek, Crighton Access on James River, the Little Sac River at Farm Road 125, Galloway Creek at Highway 65 and Highway 60, and Lake Springfield below the dam.
Karen McKinnis is the environmental and community health planner for the Springfield Greene County Health Department.
She says it is important to inspect the water before swimming in it.
"As you know bacteria and parasites aren't really visible to the naked eye. But they could look for general water condition. Does it look cloudy or murky? Does it look really clean and clear? That's one easy simple indicator. If it is really murky it doesn't look truly inviting any way, so that would be the time to think about not maybe going in especially maybe for full body contact," McKinnis said.
McKinnis says that there are several things swimmers can do to prevent contracting E Coli.
"Try not to swallow the water. If it looks bad don't go in. Wash your hands after you've been in the water, before you eat especially because then you aren't transferring the bacteria or parasite to your mouth. If you do have skin abrasions or cuts, cover them or certainly wash them when you come out to make sure you cleanse them. So just try to put up a protective barrier," McKinnis said.
McKinnis says E Coli levels are higher after floods or heavy rains because of agricultural run-off.
You can check weekly stream test results from the Springfield Greene County Health Department online. We've got a link at our website, KSMU.org.
For KSMU News, I'm Kristian Kriner.