Health Officials: Stay Out Of Shiawassee River - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Health Officials: Stay Out Of Shiawassee River

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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MI (WLNS) - Health officials in Shiawassee County are telling people to stay out of the Shiawassee River as the holiday weekend nears.

All recreational users of the river near Durand, Corunna and Owosso have been warned to stay away until further notice. 6 News Sharon Yoo has more on why.

The Shiawassee River runs through Durand and Corunna and it floods about two or three times a year, but right now they're dealing with a bigger problem.

“We've had five overflows in the last ten days. Three in Durand, one in Owosso and one in Corunna,” said Larry Johnson, Director of Environmental Health, Shiawassee County.

Overflows of wastewater treatment plants in Corunna and Durand, this released, “the total amount of sewage is 1.6 million gallons and that is an estimate.”

Constant downpours from the past week caused a sanitary sewer overflow for both the city of Durand and Corunna.

That means partially treated sewage in the Shiawassee River is contaminating the water with E. coli, a type of bacteria found in fecal matter.

“Right now we're recommending people stay out of the river.”

Once the river reaches normal levels again health officials will test the water for E. coli before lifting the ban on recreational use.

“We can get some comparison data and notify the public whether we recommend partial body contact such as kayaking, canoeing, fishing.” But why did treatment facilities dump the sewage in the river?

They're not able to handle heavy, heavy surges of surface water, storm water, rain water or ground water. It's been a really unprecedented 10 days in Shiawassee County. Until the river is back down to normal levels again officials are hoping that mother nature cuts the county some slack.

Health officials in the county are looking to test waters Friday and once again when the river recedes.

By Sharon Yoo, 6 News Intern
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