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Low E. coli counts in area waterways

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Special to the Bulletin

The most recent testing for E. coli contamination in the Medina and Sabinal rivers and Medina Lake detected no areas where the bacterial concentration exceeded hazardous levels, according to a report from the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District.

The river authority’s staff tested 12 locations on Aug. 25, and all were under the 399 MPN – or most probable number – per 100 milliliters of water that has been set by the Texas Commission on Environment Quality as the maximum reading allowable before primary contact recreation should be prohibited.

Primary contact recreation is defined as an activity that results in the total submersion of a person’s head under water.

E. coli is a bacteria found in the gut of warm-blooded animals and is known to cause illness in humans if it is ingested, a news release from the river authority said.

All of the tests conducted by the BCRAGD on Aug. 25 produced readings of 105 MPN or less except one. That was at the Sabinal River and Utopia, where the E. coli concentration was 261 MPN.

Bandera River Ranch Park was a thirteenth site checked by the river authority, but it was too dry to be tested.

BCRAGD officials advised those using area rivers that there is always a possibility of an infection from E. coli or another waterborne illness no matter what bacterial levels are recorded.

They advised those visiting area rivers to never drink or ingest river water without proper disinfection.