SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The lower American River has elevated levels of E.coli bacteria and poses an increased risk to recreational users of the river.

The State Water Resources Control Board tests the water weekly at 9 sites along the American River. Elevated levels of E.coli could lead to public warnings or restricted access to the water, including for those using the water to boat, swim, kayak, fish or participate in other recreational activities.

Sacramento County hasn’t gotten any reports of illness so far, but will conduct expanded testing through the summer.

Last year, the lower American River was placed on the state’s impaired waters list due to elevated E.coli levels. A separate study will now be conducted to identify the specific source of fecal pollution in order to determine if it’s coming from humans, pets, wildlife or livestock. The results of that study, being done by the Sacramento Area Sewer District and Sacramento County, will help officials figure out the next step to reduce the level of E.coli and reduce the exposure for users.

E.coli is a bacteria used to identify fecal pollution from human, pet, livestock or wildlife waste. Most strains are harmless; however, elevated levels can indicate pathogens may be present. Those pathogens might make people using the water sick.


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