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E-coli bacteria at high level in Four Mile Run

Keep streams clean
Keep streams clean
James George

Not wanting to be the bearer of bad news in Arlington Outdoors, but “Ballston Pond” blog has informed that the e-coli bacteria level registers high for the Four Mile Run. The principal cause is dogs. Dog owners are required to pick up after their dogs and to deposit effluence into biodegradable plastic bags that are emptied into receptacles.

Lubber Run flows to The Four Mile Run
Lubber Run flows to The Four Mile Run
James George

While hiking through the area, I have often seen kids and dogs playing in the stream together. Dogs can get sick from drinking the polluted water, and kids can get sick from touching the water and then eating without washing their hands.

At one point in history children played and swam at various swimming holes along our streams. A large swimming hole was located near Ballston Pond. That one is paved over by Interstate 66. The Lubber Run still flows underground there and passes through the pond.

There was a swimming hole along Donaldson Run at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. People wade through that area too, but there could be a dog problem at that location too as many passes along that trail. They are supposed to be leashed, but are often not.

The big recreational hole was at Carlin Springs. Don’t you wonder how these places appeared in the old days.

I like the story about the train carrying troops in the Civil War along the Four Mile Run. Troops took baths in the stream and used bars of soap. When the train filled its boilers with water from the stream, it allegedly blew bubbles. Do you believe that?

Waterways have a history of taking abuse by people. Look but don’t touch is a good adage. Keep the dogs out of the water and pick up after them, please. Read the Ballston Pond for more information.

“The Scoop on Poop

Posted: 25 Aug 2014 01:27 PM PDT

What does the Department of Environmental Services have to do with dogs? This was a question that our booth received several times during last Saturday’s Wags n’ Whiskers event. We were there to encourage dog owners to pick up after their dogs and handed out hundreds of poop bag dispensers throughout the day. There are many reasons why picking up after your dog is important. Here are just a few.

  1. Dog poop contains E. coli bacteria. Elevated levels of E. coli bacteria are documented in Four Mile Run. Elevated E. coli levels indicate that the water may also contain viruses, parasites, and other bacteria that can make you and your dog ill. There are other sources of E. coli besides dogs, such as wildlife. We focus on dog poop because this is a controllable source that we can keep from entering our waterways.
  2. Be a good neighbor. No one likes to see it or step in it!
  3. Protect the health of your dog and other dogs. Many, many illness can be spread through dog poop. The longer the poop stays on the ground, the higher the risk that it poses.
  4. Protect the health of children (and adults). There are many parasites that can be transmitted to humans through dog poop. Children are often the focus of this point because they are more likely to be on the ground, rolling around in the grass. If the dog is ill, its poop can transmit the following illnesses if it comes in contact with your skin:
  • Ringworm
  • Roundworm
  • Salmonella
  • Giardia”

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