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River’s E. coli levels high at city park

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Surface water sampling conducted by the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District (BCRAGD) showed E. coli levels at Bandera City Park, Bandera River Ranch Park, Bridlegate Park, English Crossing and Medina Lake at Pop’s Place were over the standard considered safe by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

BCRAGD conducted sampling on July 7 along the Medina River, Medina Lake, Sabinal River and their tributaries to assess levels of E. Coli, a bacteria found in the gut of warmblooded animals known to potentially cause illness in humans if ingested.

The standard set by TCEQ lists the safe level of E. Coli at a maximum of 399 most probable number (MPN) per 100 mL of water.

Results at Bandera City Park at Hwy 173 showed levels at 2,420 MPN, an increase from last month when levels at the park were listed at 1,120 MPN on June 29.

Tests for Bandera City Park at 1st Street returned safe levels of 328 MPN.

BCRAGD’s test results also listed Bandera River Ranch Park at 866 MPN, English Crossing at 816 MPN, Medina Lake at Pop’s Place at 770 and Bridlegate Park at 594 MPN.

Certified Lake Manager Levi Sparks, BCRAGD’s River Authority Operations Manager, said that recent rain is the most likely cause of the high bacteria counts, and there aren’t solutions to the levels beyond waiting it out.

“As of right now, this would be more of a ‘waiting game’ of letting the rivers settle out to reduce bacteria loads in the Medina River,” Sparks said.

Sparks said there is not a wastewater treatment plant upstream of the park, and the one downstream would most likely not be a contributing factor to the bacteria counts.

During that waiting game, TCEQ and BCRAGD advise against participating in activities that could result in total submersion of the head underwater.

“We always advise to swim at your own risk, especially after major rain events where enough runoff has caused discoloration of the water,” said Sparks.

Full results of July’s sample water testing are available at www.bcragd.org.