HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. -- After testing at Geist Park showed high and possibly unsafe E. coli levels last month, people living nearby are concerned that the Hamilton County Health Dept. never issued a warning to the public.
The Hamilton County Health Department tests 19 different areas on a monthly basis for the recreational season. Last month, those tests from Fall Creek at Geist Park came back “unsatisfactory,” meaning the E. coli bacteria levels were higher than is considered safe.
John Domokos has lived in the Geist area for 32 years and loves fishing, kayaking and any reason to take his boat out on the reservoir. He says he’s troubled that he didn’t find out about the results until he went to the website and looked.
“Years ago my daughter got a disease from swimming in Geist Reservoir, which was traced by the state to sewage overflow,” said Domokos.
Because of that, Domokos keeps a close eye on the water quality reports on the Hamilton County Health Department’s website, because he knows how dangerous contaminated water can be. But he’s worried that not everyone who uses the water does the same.
The Hamilton County Health Department says E. coli in water shows contamination from raw sewage, and exposure can cause illness and infections.
In the most recent test, the water sampling in Fall Creek at Geist Reservoir showed 365.4 Colony Forming Units. The EPA guidelines suggest anything higher than 235 CFU is not safe for body contact.
The health department says since they only monitor the water once a month, they don’t issue warnings or close recreational areas. They just put the test results online so that people can track the water near their home and make those determinations on their own.
If you do swim in any public area, the health department recommends showering as soon as you get home, regardless of the test results for that area.
If you’re concerned about the water readings in an area near you, you can call the Hamilton County Health Department at 317-776-8500 or contact them online at Health@hamiltoncounty.in.gov for more information.
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