Independent group finds E. Coli at the Reservoir

One reason the group blames E.coli being in the water is because people are feeding the geese in the swimming area.

Independent group finds E. Coli at the Reservoir

BRANDON, Miss. (WLBT) - An independent group testing water at the Ross Barnett Reservior has found E.coli in the water at two different parks.

Testing is done every week by the non-profit Pearl Riverkeeper. They put their water test results on their website in a swim guide.

E. Coli is always present in the water, but not normally at this level, according to members of the group.

One reason the group blames the high levels of E.coli being in the water is because people are feeding the geese in the swimming area.

The animals digestive systems contain the bacteria.

Ross Barnett Reservoir; Source: WLBT
Ross Barnett Reservoir; Source: WLBT

Billy Mitchell, a member of the group said, “They can cause swimmers ear infections, digestion problems, most dangerous for young children, people with compromised immune systems.”

Pearl Riverkeepers recommend showering if you come in contact with the water and avoid getting in if you have cuts or open sores... which could lead to serious illnesses.

Reservoir managers on the other hand say the water is perfectly safe to recreate in.

Gregg Burgess, Chief Engineer with the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District said, “They are taking samples and doing it with an in-house type kit. We do not have any certified samples showing those type of results, also our sample does not mean there is a problem by any means either.”

Burgess says all of their water samples are certified. He added that the Riverkeeper’s samples were taken on a rainy day where geese were present and could be contaminated.

“We test once a month we have five locations we test some historical testing we’ve done for years on the lake we will plan to continue to do our testing," he said.

Leaders with the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District say they cannot depend on the non-profits testing results. They do their own testing and will send their water off to the state.

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