The Midlands Rivers Coalition issued a swimming advisory for parts of the Lower Saluda and Congaree Rivers Thursday.
The latest water quality report shows higher bacteria levels in the Saluda River from the Lower Landing at Saluda Shoals park all the way down to the Rosewood Boat Ramp (Jordan Memorial Boat Ramp) on the Congaree River.
The Midlands Rivers Coalition, formerly known as the Lower Saluda River Coalition, does not recommend swimming, wading, tubing or paddling in the affected areas.
Although the rivers are not closed, everyone should use caution, especially if a person has an open wound. Children and people with compromised immune systems are also at a higher risk for illness.
This is third year of water quality monitoring of the major rivers in the Columbia area. In the past few years, the monitoring has been expanded to include sampling locations on the Broad River in addition to existing sites on the Lower Saluda and Congaree Rivers.
The coalition says safe levels are between zero and 349 units per 100 mL of water. As of Wednesday's testing, bacteria levels in the Saluda River near Interstate 20 and near River's Edge were almost seven times a safe level.
The testing will be done weekly and run from May through September. Weekly data will be posted each Thursday on howsmyscriver.org.