Stay Safe Georgia: Don’t Swim in Chattahoochee River, Officials Warn

Chattahoochee River

The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, the official organization that oversees, maintains, cleans, and protects the Chattahoochee River, has warned that swimmers, boaters, and kayakers should stay out of a 70-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee in Georgia due to elevated levels of E. coli bacteria. Exposure to E. coli can cause a variety of health problems, many severe enough to cause hospitalization or life-threatening conditions, especially among children, elders, and people with autoimmune system disorders.

The buildup of dangerous bacteria does not seem to be the result of a natural occurrence, state regulators believe. Instead, water samples indicate that the Atlanta RM Clayton Water Reclamation Plant may have a serious defect that is causing or significantly contributing to the problem. Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Executive Director Jason Ulseth explained, “There are failures at every level within the plant right now. This was not just a broken valve or something easy to fix, the entire plant is in shambles and it’s going to take some time to get everything up and working properly.”

Until the defect is fully identified and fixed – a process that could take months – the E. coli levels in the river downstream from the plant for at least 70 miles should be considered unsafe. However, Fulton County has seemingly been slow to put up any warning signs around the river or take any action to prevent people from swimming or boating in the area, unknowingly exposing themselves to the dangerous bacteria and a host of potential health problems. Reportedly, the river contamination levels were roughly 25% of what they are now around this time last year, and Fulton County put up warning signs. The slow response to this much higher level of E. coli contamination has the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper worried about how locals could be affected.

For more information about this ongoing story, you can click here to read a full article from Yahoo! News. You can also visit the blog of The Law Office of Joshua W. Branch, LLC often. At our law firm, we are committed to doing what we can to protect the people in our communities, including posting blogs and updates about important safety issues that you should know about. It’s all part of our “Stay Safe Georgia” blog series and how we show that we genuinely care for the people around us.