POCATELLO — City officials have issued a health advisory after high levels of E. coli bacteria were detected in the waters of City Creek in west Pocatello.
According to a news release from the city of Pocatello, the E. coli bacteria in the water has been caused by dog waste left near or in the stream.
“While it’s fun to take your dog on your outdoor adventures, this situation shows why it’s extremely important to clean up after them,” Hannah Sanger, science and environment division manager for the city of Pocatello, said in the news release.
Sanger said that the city has had issues with pet owners leaving their dogs’ waste behind on the trails and other areas near the creek.
Pocatello officials said the City Creek area is still safe for recreational activities such as hiking and biking.
However, they advise people to avoid wading in the creek and to avoid ingesting the creek’s water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli bacteria can cause diarrhea, vomiting, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia. Infants, children and senior citizens are most susceptible to E. coli-related illnesses.
Pocatello’s city code requires residents to pick up waste deposited by pet dogs. However, officials will be looking into ways to improve compliance with the city code.
Sanger said that in addition to enforcement, the city could install more signage, add more garbage containers and close off areas where dog waste could fall into the creek. She is also asking recreationists who use City Creek to remind other trail users to pick up after their pets.
Sanger expects City Creek’s E. coli levels to decrease in about a month, when the weather gets colder and there’s fewer people out on the trails.
Residents with questions about the advisory are asked to contact Sanger at 208-234-6518 or firstname.lastname@example.org.