Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is warning people not to swim in the water at Saluda Shoals Park after finding high levels of bacteria in that section of the Saluda River.
"We've got a lot of people that come out here, fishermen swimmers kayakers, we're all concerned about the quality of our water," said fisherman Michael Frank.
Bill Stangler, the Congaree Riverkeeper, says he was frustrated when he got the call about more bacteria polluting the river.
"Here we go again, deja vu," Stangler said. "It's really a bad place for this to be happening, I mean we're standing between a canoe/kayak launch, a boat ramp, and another boat ramp across the river. This is where people come to get in the river."
DHEC says they found "upset conditions" at the Carolina Water Service's Friarsgate plant towards the end of last week that could have contributed to the bacteria. They also say there were other factors.
"We did see an abundance of rain, so that could have contributed to the higher levels of bacteria that was coming into the water so we can't say it was all attributed to CWS," said Robert Yanity with DHEC.
Yanity advises people not to ingest the water or go in with open wounds.
"You could get inflammation, you could get infections in open cuts, open wounds," Yanity said. "If you ingest it, you could get sick, you could get stomach issues, gastrointestinal issues so that's why we want to make sure people are precautions."
A spokesperson with Carolina Water Service says the issues at the plant were fixed quickly and they reported the issue to DHEC. They are back to normal operations.
If you are planning to go to the river the summer, there is a website where you can check the water quality before you hit the water. We've got that information here.
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