9Residents and recreationalists along the Suwannee and Withlacoochee rivers are urged to avoid contact with the water because of possible contamination from city of Valdosta’s sewage treatment plant, according to a Florida Department of Health press release.
The agency on Thursday issued an advisory to residents in the counties surrounding the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers — Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison and Suwannee counties.
The Valdosta utility department has located a sanitary sewer overflow which has spilled into the Withlacoochee River. The Withlacoochee flows south and connects with the Suwannee River.
Until further information is known regarding possible contamination of the rivers, people are urged to avoid contact with the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers.
Water contaminated by wastewater overflow presents several health hazards to humans and may contain untreated human sewage with microbes that could cause gastro-intestinal and other diseases.
Anyone that comes in contact with the river water, should wash thoroughly, especially before eating or drinking. Children and elderly, as well as people with depressed immune systems, are particularly vulnerable to disease so every precaution should be taken to avoid the river water.