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Critical Update: Avoid St. Joseph River Due to 500,000 Gallons of Untreated Sewage Leak

July 12, 2023
1 min read

Residents and visitors of the St. Joseph River vicinity in Michigan and Indiana are advised to steer clear of the waterway following a significant wastewater spill. An estimated 500,000 gallons of untreated sewage, inclusive of fecal matter, seeped into the river near the Broadway Street Bridge, just east of downtown Three Rivers, beginning at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 7, according to a news bulletin by the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency.

The exact time the discharge was identified and curtailed remains undisclosed. However, the break’s location and the sewage flow have led health officials to issue a no-contact advisory for a substantial stretch of the river. This spans from the spill site south to at least the township of Constantine. Beyond this point, the river courses through South Bend, Indiana, reenters Michigan, and finally empties into Lake Michigan.

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This warning applies to all types of water-related activities. Citizens are urged to refrain from fishing, kayaking, swimming, tubing, and canoeing in the affected areas. This precaution extends to pets, which owners should keep away from the river until further notice.

The advisory will stay effective until water sample analyses show that the coliform levels – indicative of fecal contamination – have returned to safe standards. Coliform bacteria, found in the feces of warm-blooded animals, can cause a variety of infectious diseases if ingested or contacted. This risk highlights the significance of the current health alert.

Individuals and pets who have had contact with the river’s water since the spill onset are strongly recommended to shower or bathe and wash their clothing to prevent potential health complications. Immediate action is crucial to limit any health risks associated with this wastewater incident.

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency will continue monitoring the situation, with updates to follow once conditions improve. Meanwhile, all citizens are asked to heed this advisory to protect themselves, their families, and the wider community from possible infection.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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