DENVER (CBS4)– As summer approaches and temperatures continue to rise, there are more people spending time in urban waterways in Denver. Now the City of Denver is reminding those who are trying to cool off to be cautious of the dangers they can’t see.
Warmer weather can cause water bacteria levels to rise. The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment has begun weekly testing to measure the water quality of those parks.
According to environmental analysis, the results from Tuesday’s testing showed a high amount of E. coli in the South Platte River.
“The levels were higher than swim beach standards or public health risk levels. We would recommend staying out of the water or waiting another day or two before you go in,” said Jon Novick, Environmental Administrator at DPHE.
Novik says people should also avoid the river if there’s standing water or if it stormed recently.
DPHE says the best way to avoid the effects of bacteria lurking in the river is to avoid swallowing any water. Swimmers should also make sure all cuts and open wounds are covered before jumping in. Washing your hands when you return to dry land can also help prevent infection.
In addition to testing the quality of water for humans, DPHE also measures the safety of water for aquatic life.
“We take this and put it in a stream or lake when collecting a sample. If we were in the Platte, the PH would typically be around eight,” explained Novik.
It’s important to note that if the water is safe for fish to live in, it doesn’t necessarily mean the fish are safe to eat.
“We don’t actually monitor fish for whether or not they’re safe to eat. Since we don’t have information on that, we recommend you just catch and release,” explained Novik.
The city typically does not use signs to warm swimmers of the current water quality. Novik recommends checking the Denver Water Quality Map before diving in.