Heal the Bay deems Los Angeles River unsafe for high levels of bacteria

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A local advocacy group is warning people to stay clear of the Los Angeles River.

Along the banks of the L.A. River, in the Elysian Valley, every morning you'll find Daniel Huda and his dog. Despite concerns of possible heath risks, the duo keeps coming back.

"I kind of figure bacteria levels in the river would be kind of higher than normal just because of the algae and everything in there," Huda said.

Last week, advocacy group Heal the Bay, posted concerns about bacteria floating in the river.

"We had elevated bacteria counts. We also had elevated ammonia, which indicates possibly the presence of sewage," said Heal the Bay spokesman James Alamillo.

He said they found three types of bacteria during testing. The bacteria was all above state and federal standard levels.

Dr. Jonathan Grein of Cedars-Sinai said those bacteria indicate a high level of fecal matter in the water.

"Overall your skin is a pretty good barrier to preventing these types of infections. Where the problems come in, is if you have breaks in your skin, or if you swallow water, or get it in your eyes and nose," he said.

Heal the Bay is now trying to determine why the bacteria levels are so high.

"Something's happening within the river, and we're not quite sure what's going on," Alamillo said.

In partnership with other groups, Heal The Bay checks the river once a week and posts all their findings on their website.
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