E.coli Found in Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek Pose Public Health Risk

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- Environmentalists are warning Sioux Empire residents of a harmful bacteria that was recently found in the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek, but the city of Sioux Falls say this news shouldn’t stress people out.

The water may look clean and fresh, but it’s definitely something that isn’t drinkable. Just recently, new research came out saying the water quality of the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek has strains of E.coli that can make people sick.

“Basically said that’s the type of E.coli that’s occurring and that can cause anywhere from mild to very severe symptoms of diarrhea and stomach cramping,” says Friends of the Big Sioux River Chairperson, Dana Loseke,

Although the Big Sioux River has been polluted with bacteria, this latest finding is something environmentalist say people should take seriously.

“So you shouldn’t take it lightly, you should make sure that, one you don’t have a cut and two that you don’t ingest it,” says Loseke.

Officials with the City of Sioux Falls say they did hear about the findings and say this information isn’t meant to scare people. They say they are constantly testing both the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek to make sure no harmful bacteria enters the water. However, environmentalist like Dana Loseke believe the city should be posting warning signs at the rivers to let the public know of the risks.

“So that if they do go in they are doing it at their own risk, but at least the city and everyone else that has a public beach or whatever would be alerting the public,” says Loseke. “I think it’s really our duty to do that,” says Loseke.

The city says the Department of Natural Resources is the one that assigns which rivers are safe to go in and not. Loseke says he hopes this study opens people’s eyes on the importance of taking care of the environment.

“We need to continue working on improving the water quality in all of our water bodies. Not only in the Big Sioux and Skunk Creek, but all of the rivers that are in eastern South Dakota,” says Loseke.

The City of Sioux Falls says they are also working with other districts to keep cattle out of the river and from spreading other bacteria in it.

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