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Reminders about potential health risks, as water activities kick off Memorial Day weekend

Kentucky Today

Memorial Day weekend is often considered the unofficial start of summer and outdoor activities, so the State Division of Water and Department for Public Health have some reminders when it comes to water recreation.

They want Kentuckians to enjoy the many rivers, lakes and creeks in which to boat, fish, swim, canoe or otherwise enjoy the state’s water resources, while keeping mind that despite many water quality improvements, there is the potential for human health risks in any body of water. By using common sense, your risks of experiencing water-derived health issues can be greatly decreased.

CDC photo

Their recommendations include:

• Avoid ingesting or inhaling the water.

• Thoroughly clean hands and other areas that have come in contact with the water.

• Avoid allowing open wounds to have direct contact with the water.

• Avoid areas where swimming or harmful algal bloom advisories have been issued.

• Avoid contact with water that has obvious odors or surface scums.

• Avoid getting in water after heavy rainfall, especially in dense residential, urban and agricultural areas.

• Avoid areas below wastewater treatment facility outfalls, animal feedlots, straight pipes or other obvious sources of pollution.

• Restrict pets and livestock from drinking the water if a bright green or blue-green surface scum is present.

If you experience symptoms, such as gastro-intestinal upset or rash, after recreation in natural waters, such as streams, rivers or lakes, consult your physician or call your local health department.

More information concerning the quality of Kentucky’s water resources such as advisories or impairments can be found here.

For more information on healthy swimming in all water bodies, visit https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/.

State Division of Water photo

According to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Water and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Division of Public Health and Safety, a swimming advisory remains in effect for the Licking River:

Banklick Creek to the confluence with the Ohio River. The swimming advisory includes all of Banklick Creek and Three Mile Creek. Inadequate or failing sewage treatment systems can contribute to water quality problems along Kentucky water ways. Efforts by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and local environmental health staff to ensure all new septic system installations are installed properly and work by the Division of Water and wastewater plant operators to monitor wastewater treatment plant compliance are reducing bacterial pollution from these possible sources. Work by both agencies is gradually reducing the number of discharges and improving water quality.

The NKyTribune contributed to this report.

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