Science, Health and Technology
6:25 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

E. coli reading high at Flat Branch Creek

Flat Branch Creek’s E. coli readings are much higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards.

The latest sample from June 13 showed 2,419.6 colonies of E. coli per 100 milliliters in the creek at Flat Branch Park. That’s more than ten times the recommended limit for colonies by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Kala Gunier is the interim environmental health manager for the city of Columbia. She says high E. coli levels are not new for Flat Branch Creek.

“It seems like it traditionally stays high.”

E. coli is in most bodies of water and originates in the intestines of warm blooded animals. Gunier says bacteria can enter water through surface water run-off, and possibly through sewer leaks.

“Flatbranch is through a very urban part of our community and also an older part of our community where there are older sewer utility lines,” Gunier saidl.

Flat Branch Creek isn’t normally used for swimming, but Gunier says it’s important to let the public know when E. coli counts are high.