TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health (DOH) today issued an advisory to residents in the counties surrounding the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers. The city of Valdosta utility department has located a sanitary sewer overflow which has spilled into the Withlacoochee River. The Withlacoochee flows south and connects with the Suwannee River.
Until further information is known regarding possible contamination of the rivers, citizens are urged to avoid contact with the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers. This includes those individuals in the counties of Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, and Suwannee counties.
Water contaminated by wastewater overflow presents several health hazards to humans and may contain untreated human sewage with microbes that could cause gastro-intestinal and other diseases.
Anyone that comes in contact with the river water should wash thoroughly, especially before eating or drinking. Children and elderly, as well as people with depressed immune systems, are particularly vulnerable to disease so every precaution should be taken to avoid the river water.
For more information about the potential health effects of wastewater overflow, residents are encouraged to contact their local county health department. To find contact information for your county health department, please visit http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chdsitelist.htm.