By Robert Tomlinson
THREE RIVERS — The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency (BHSJ) is warning residents to stay out of the St. Joseph River for the time being.
A no-contact advisory was issued Monday by the health department for the St. Joseph River between Broadway Street through at least the village of Constantine.
The cause of the advisory was due to a force main break near the Broadway Street bridge that occurred Friday, July 7 at approximately 9:30 p.m. BHSJ officials say approximately 500,000 gallons of untreated wastewater from the Three Rivers Wastewater Treatment Plant was discharged into the river.
The advisory includes any type of body contact with the river for recreational activities such as tubing, kayaking, swimming, canoeing or fishing. It is also advised to keep animals out of the water.
Officials say the advisory is in effect until water samples from the river have been analyzed and demonstrate that coliform levels are back at normally expected amounts.
Anyone having contact with the river after 9:30 p.m. Friday is advised by BHSJ to take a shower and wash any clothing that also was in the river, as numerous infectious diseases are associated with contact with fecal coliform. Pets should also be bathed if they were in contact with the water.
As of this afternoon, the Three Rivers Wastewater Treatment Plant has not returned calls seeking comment on the situation.
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or email@example.com.