During the summer months, Ozarks residents spend more time in local recreational waters such as streams and rivers. However, water in these swimming areas can contain harmful bacteria and parasites from human or animal waste and wastewater runoff. When a person swallows contaminated water they may become sick with a recreational water illness.
The most common recreational water illness is diarrhea, which is caused by swallowing water contaminated by E. coli, Shigella, Giardia or Cryptosporidium.
In order to provide swimmers with information on the quality of water in local swimming holes, the Health Department partners with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks to monitor select stream and river locations in Greene County for the presence of coliform bacteria. The total coliform count is an indication of fecal water contamination.
Samples are collected from five area swimming locations weekly by the Watershed Committee, typically between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and tested by our lab staff. Sites are selected based on their accessibility and the likelihood that people might come in contact with the water.