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Dangerous levels of bacteria in Flat Branch Creek

Bacteria levels in Flat Branch Creek are at dangerous levels. Flat Branch Creek isn’t the only body of water in Boone County seeing high E. coli levels this summer.

Columbia/Boone County Health and Human Services posted a sign by Flat Branch Creek warning bathers to keep out because of unacceptable bacteria levels.

The health department takes monthly samples of creeks and lakes in the county during the summer season. If a series of samples remains high, officials will post a sign warning residents.

The health danger comes if someone drinks the water. Being in the water will not necessarily sicken the bather, unless that person has an open wound.

High levels of E. coli have also been found in Stephens Lake among other lakes and creeks this summer. The elevated levels of E. coli in the water, in part, can be blamed on the weather.

“Earlier in the summer we had a lot of rain and with the rain comes surface run off. So, you have to think of anything else that might be on the ground especially around a large lake or something. If there’s Canada geese feces in the water or dog feces if someone hasn’t cleaned up after their pet,” said Kayla Wekenborg-Tomka with Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services.

Most E. col levels in lakes and creeks around the county have dropped below dangerous levels. The levels at Flat Branch Creek usually remain higher because of its location in the downtown area.

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