Bacterial Contamination of Bear Creek Watershed Impacts Four Oregon Counties

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Residents of four Oregon counties have been warned not to touch or ingest water in Bear Creek watershed which is contaminated by elevated levels of bacteria.

The warning has been issued by the Rogue Valley Council of Governments and affects:

  • Ashland, Bear Creek from South Valley View Road to Fern Valley Road in
  • Central Point, Griffin Creek at Beall Lane.
  • Jacksonville, Jackson Creek at West Ross Lane to Dean Creek Road in Central Point.


Fecal Matter and Septic Tank Leakage Could be the Causes

The elevated levels of bacteria could have been caused by the discharge of fecal matter into the creeks via the stormwater drainage system. This includes pet, livestock and wild animal waste, and septic tank leakage, according to the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCG).

Activities such as illegal dumping from RVs can result in contamination of the waterways and the RVCG has called on residents from the affected areas to be cautious when coming into contact with the creek water.

Faulty septic tank systems or any other pollutants that are discharged into the streams must be reported to the Department of Environmental Quality.


Illness and Infection Can Result from Contact with the Waterways

The RVCG warns that ingesting the water can cause illness, and people should be particularly cautious not to expose any open wounds, which could become infected.

Parents must ensure that young children playing in the water are properly supervised, and swallowing creek water should be avoided at all costs.

To prevent future contamination of the waterways, the RVCG appeals to residents to have septic tanks inspected and repaired if faulty, to ensure that toddlers wear swim diapers, and to use poop bags when taking their dogs for a walk. The RVCG says other waste such as cat litter must be kept away from stormwater drains and creeks.


Contacts for Concerns, Complaints and Questions

For any concerns or complaints, residents must notify the appropriate agency by calling 1-888-997-7888, or at the following link.

For questions contact Amie Siedlecki at 541-423-1371 or Greg Stabach 541-423-1370 or visit this link.

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