What are the harmful effects of raw sewage overflows?
Raw sewage backing up into people’s homes is a serious health hazard. In addition, the St. Joseph River doesn’t meet recreational standards for E. coli bacteria 10-16 percent of the time during the warm-weather months when people use the river for recreation. E. coli is an indicator of human or animal waste and potentially disease-causing organisms in the water. Some E. coli in a waterway is natural, but high levels have been linked to stomach cramps, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal illnesses among swimmers and people who ingest or swallow water during recreation. Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems or chronic conditions are most at risk.