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E. coli levels surge in 'Hooch; advisory issued

In this 2010 file photo, a couple paddles down the Chattahoochee River in a two-person kayak.

In this 2010 file photo, a couple paddles down the Chattahoochee River in a two-person kayak.

DULUTH -- Stay outta the 'Hooch, y'all.

Estimated E. coli levels in the Chattahoochee River, which commonly surge following heavy rains, were at "National Park Service health advisory levels" Tuesday morning. Officials urged people to steer clear of the water, at least for now.

The estimated E. coli count at the Medlock Bridge Road measuring point was 514 at 10:15 a.m. -- more than twice the high-risk threshold of 235 colonies per 100 milliliters of water. That means the chance of a river-user getting sick is greater.

"When E. coli counts exceed 235, there is a statistically greater risk that more than 8 people out of 1,000 people using the river will experience stomach illness," according to the Chattahoochee Riverway Project website, which monitors the river's bacteria contents.

With the weekend's heavy rains beginning to subside, though, the E. coli tally was declining. The count at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday was 785. At 9:15 a.m. it was 563.

For more information, visit ga2.er.usgs.gov/bacteria/default.cfm.

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