A recent Ohio EPA report indicates the Sandy Creek Watershed, which has tributaries that flow through Columbiana County, is safe for aquatic life but not for human recreation.
The report released on Thursday reveals data taken from a 2010 study of 48 stream samples from the body of water. Ohio EPA biologists assessed the chemical, physical and biological attributes of the watershed and identified areas needing improvement.
More than 75 percent of the sites sampled proved to be safe for fish and other aquatic life, but the primary concern for humans was testing that showed elevated levels of bacteria, the report stated.
All of the sites sampled for E.coli exceeded the “primary contact standards associated with recreational activities such as swimming, boating, water skiing and canoeing.” An elevated level of E.coli puts humans at risk for contamination when in or near the water.
The report indicated the high levels of bacteria could be attributed to discharge from failing septic systems, agriculture and unsewered communities.
The Sandy Creek basin flows through Carroll, Columbiana, Stark and Tuscarawas counties and empties into the Tuscarawas River near Bolivar.
To view the complete report on the Sandy Creek Watershed, click here.