Conservation Society Warns of Health Dangers in Rivanna River - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Conservation Society Warns of Health Dangers in Rivanna River

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Rivanna River Rivanna River

Recent rainfall and summer heat are breeding bacteria in the Rivanna River.

Environmental groups that monitor the water are warning people about the potential health danger.

The Rivanna Conservation Society and StreamWatch say that they are finding higher levels of bacteria in the river from July through September.

The groups want people to be aware of the health risks as it gets hotter outside. Swimming in the Rivanna River is a popular summer activity - but it might not be as harmless as you think.

"Every time it rains, all of that stuff, all of that bacteria, all of that waste goes right into our rivers," said Robbi Savage of the Rivanna Conservation Society.

The Rivanna Conservation Society and StreamWatch are taking samples of the water and testing them for E. Coli.

StreamWatch monitors 13 different sites around the watershed.

"We've been doing this for a year now and the pattern is that bacteria levels do increase during the summer time because the water temperature of course is much higher in the summertime," said David Hannah of StreamWatch.

Now that elevated level of E. Coli in the river can be caused by variety of reasons.

One of the main culprits is waste from our little friends.

"Pet waste is a huge threat that people are not as aware of as they should be," Hannah said. "There is a dog park, a city dog park within the Moore's Creek Watershed and another dog park near the Rivanna River, so pet waste is a huge source of bacteria.

Exposure to high levels of E. Coli present health risks for humans.

There are a couple measures people should take to continue enjoying a summer on the river.

"We suggest about a 24 hour period after a rainstorm, before we let our children and our animals run in the water," Savage said. "And of course when we have our animals, we hope that they don't do their business in the water because that just adds to the problem."

The groups will continue monitoring the Rivanna River through the end of the year.

The data will be available online after it's recorded and analyzed.

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