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Bacterial risk and recreation

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I am looking at a problem in a textbook that asks me to explain if I would allow water activities in a city river. The data collected by the City are those of fecal coliforms, total coliforms and heterotrophic plate counts. These types of bacteriological analysis are used to determine the presence of sewage pollution, water quality and heterotrophic bacteria capable of causing disease. The bacterial results given fall above guidelines only during a few months of the year. These are the months to which these recreational activities would be primarily held. The city would like my recommendation in formulating a by-law allowing the public to use the river for recreational purposes: including contact (swimming, wind-surfing, kayaking) or non-contact activities (boating, fishing) and special events- raft races..

What are my recommendations?

Points I am thinking about...
-Don't look at the details, but the surroundings.
-Canadian watercraft Legislation on boating in river- not fun to be on a seadoo and go at a snails pace
-Strength of swimmers... do I want diarrhea and vomiting from the water, or do I want to look be dead because I cant swim- the currents can be strong also. Who would monitor all this?
-If the river is shallow- let us assume it is, will it be worth it to motor craft.

I desperately need help in trying to formulate a recommendation, and would appreciate any help you can offer. I am trying to think outside of the box.

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Solution Summary

Posits a scenario of recreational use in a city river under contaminated conditions, ponders policy implications.

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OK, let us consider a few things.

One is that the increased counts (associated with warm weather I presume) may be indicative of several things: increased pollution from anthropogenic sources (ie: sewage), from users themselves (dirty-bottomed babies in water, exposure to diapers from users closer to water more often in warmer weather, etc.) and increased wildlife population/activity in season (no real way to tell bacteria from ducks and bears from humans.)

For some easily digested info on the subject go to:

some Canadian environmental ...

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