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E. coli warning issued for Ashland Creek

Routine water quality bacteria test results for Ashland Creek in Lithia Park show E. coli levels exceeding state standards for swimmers, waders and bathers, the city of Ashland announced Friday, July 29. Park visitors are asked to use caution when coming into contact with water at the children’s playground and swimming reservoir.

Ingestion of creek and reservoir water is to be avoided, as it may cause illness. Contact with open wounds may cause infection. Very young children should be cautioned against entering the water.

In the event of contact with the water, full supervision is advised so swallowing does not occur. It is important to note that contact with any water body —creeks, rivers, lakes or swimming pools — carries some level of risk. 

Possible causes of high bacteria levels in the creek include pet waste; livestock waste; wild animals; leaking septic systems; illegal dumping from portable toilets or RVs; or any other activity that results in the discharge of fecal matter directly into creeks or through storm drains. 

To help prevent E. coli contamination of local waters, people are encouraged to:

• Pick up after pets.

• Do not dump manure, kitty litter or other waste material in or near creeks or storm drains.

• Have septic systems inspected and repaired if failing.

• Put babies and toddlers in swim diapers.

• Find out more. Information is available from Ashland Parks and Recreation (www.ashland.or.us), the Oregon Department of Human Services (www.oregon.gov/dhs), and the Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/criteria/humanhealth/).

Health-related questions should be directed to Jackson County Public Health at 541-774-8206. Complaints can be reported to the state or Oregon complaint hotline at 888-997-7888 or online at www.deq.state.or.us/complaints/rep.htm.