When it comes to beaches and rivers, we like to forget that there's often a variety of different germs and bacteria that are polluting the waters. As gross as it sounds, animal feces and other pollutants are normal to find in Canadian waters. Yet, one Canadian city is dealing with a different kind of substance and are warning its residents that Calgary's Elbow River contains high amounts of human feces. What's even weirder, is that the city has no idea how it got there.
On Tuesday, the city of Calgary put out a contamination advisory for Elbow river, a popular river that flows through the city. The city is advising residents to not swim or enter the waters due to the bacteria levels within the waters. The advisory is put in place for the river between Sandy Beach and 9 Avenue SE.
While this contamination advisory has already been put in place during previous years, the Alberta Health Services and the city of Calgary is reminding residents that one of the main contaminations to this river is human fecal material. Other contaminants include animal fecal material and stormwater.
What's more concerning about this issue, is that the city of Calgary is unaware where the human feces is coming from and why it's contaminating the river.
The city of Calgary states that is has been a 'challenge' to figure out where these pollutants are coming from but can ensure the city that the high amount of human feces that are being found in the water do not have anything to do with the City's sanitary infrastructure. This means that this pollution does not affect the city's drinking water.
CBC News states while these mass amounts of human sewage in the water still remains a mystery, it could be due to a lot of different things. A leaking sewage pipe, RV users dumping their waste into the river, or even humans choosing to use the river as their washroom could cause these bacteria levels to rise.
The city of Calgary told CBC that there is likely not one big cause of the pollution and that a variety of things could be contributing to this advisory.
This also isn't the first year that the city of Calgary has been dealing with human feces contamination.
CBC states that for three years the city of Calgary has been dealing with high amounts of human fecal material in the waters of Elbow River. So if you are looking for a summer swimming spot, stay clear of the Elbow River.