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E. coli concerns in Popo Agie and diverted streams

Jul 16, 2013 - By Andrea Novotny, Staff Writer

An E. coli bacteria alert for the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River also is a concern for ditches and streams supplied by the river.

The Popo Agie Conservation District announced over the weekend that unsafe E. coli levels had been detected in the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie running through Lander.

Jeri Trebelcock with the Popo Agie Conservation District says many of the direct diversions of the Middle Fork waters, including irrigation ditches, also are potentially at risk.

The Popo Agie Conservation District conducts weekly testing of the main waters. Trebelcock explains that E. coli is the indicator species used to show when there is recall waste in water systems. A geometric mean greater than 126 is determined to be above the standard for safe levels of the bacteria.

Last week's data shows that waters at Mortimore Lane

Bridge, Lander above City Park, Second Street Bridge and Poor Farm Road have all exceeded that standard.

E. coli levels at the Main Street Bridge waters were hovering just below the standard, and based on data from previous years, the Conservation District expects levels to have exceeded the standard this week.

Trebelcock says that waters above town and in Sinks Canyon do not show signs of being at risk.

The problem has cropped up before during mid-summer weather when water levels are low and water temperatures have risen.

Officials have posted signs warning people to stay out of Lander City Park waters and the banks of the river that runs through Lander.

E. coli can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, which can result in serious illness, and can be life-threatening in serious cases.

According to Fremont County Public Health officials, there have been no confirmed cases of E. coli infection in Lander this summer so far, but anyone who has been recreating in the water and is showing symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea is encouraged to see a physician.

According to Fremont County Public Health via the Department of Environmental Quality, the high bacteria count is a result of a lack of dilution and high temperatures.

For more information contact Fremont County Public Health at 332-1073 or 856-6979.

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