Routine water quality bacteria test results for Ashland Creek in Lithia Park (not just near the playground) show E. coli levels that exceed state standards for swimmers, waders and bathers. Residents are asked to use caution when in contact with water at the children’s playground and swimming reservoir and especially to avoid ingestion (which may cause illness) and contact with open wounds (which may cause infection). Very young children should be cautioned against entering the water. If contact is made, full supervision is advised to protect them from swallowing the water. It is important to note that contact with any water body—creeks, rivers, lakes, or swimming pools—carries some level of risk.
Possible causes of high bacteria levels in the creek include: 1) pet waste, 2) livestock waste, 3) wild animals, 4) leaking septic systems, 5) illegal dumping from portable toilets or RVs, or 6) any other activity that results in the discharge of fecal matter directly into creeks or through storm drains.
Health-related questions should be directed to Jackson County Public Health (541-774-8206). Complaints can be reported to the State or Oregon complaint hotline at 1-888-997-7888 or online at http://www.deq.state.or.us/complaints/rep.htm
What you can do:
- Pick up after your pets.
- Do not dump manure, kitty litter, or other waste material in or near creeks or storm drains.
- Have your septic system inspected and repaired if failing.
- Put toddlers in swim diapers.
- Find out more. Information is available from Ashland Parks and Recreation (www.AshlandParksandRec.org), the Oregon Department of Human Services (www.oregon.gov/dhs), and the Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/criteria/humanhealth/)