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Ashland Creek has unsafe levels of bacteria

For the rest of the summer, no matter how hot it gets, don’t take a dip in Ashland Creek.

That’s the advice the Jackson County Health and Ashland Parks and Recreation departments sent out Wednesday afternoon, after the creek was found to have unsafe levels of bacteria.

“Go to our swimming pool — that’s probably the best bet,” said Steve Gies, superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department, referring to the city-owned Daniel Meyer Pool.

As happens almost every summer, the creek water has been contaminated with fecal coliform and E. Coli bacteria, according to the health department.

Lithia Park officials posted warning signs near the reservoir and playground wading area at noon on Wednesday after tests on Tuesday showed unsafe levels of bacteria.

The warning, which affects the entire portion of the creek running through Ashland, will likely be in effect through the end of the summer, Gies said.

“Typically once we post it, the health department likes to see it posted on through the end of the season, until the weather finally turns cold,” he said.

More swimmers during last week’s heat wave, warmer water temperatures and the low volume of water in the creek have increased the concentration of bacteria in the water, the health department said in a release.

People can still swim in the creek, but officials aren’t recommending they do.

“It’s not a ban,” Gies said. “You can go in the water, but it’s advised that you don’t.”

People who come into contact with the water should thoroughly wash themselves with soap and clean water afterward, according to health officials.

For more information, contact the health department at 774-8206.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.