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Bacterial Contamination

Bacterial contamination of water in the Delaware River basin is widespread. Major sources of bacterial contamination includes livestock waste, failing on-site wastewater systems (like septic tanks and lagoons), and wildlife. 

What you can do . . .

  • Keep livestock out of stream areas-- Bacteria in livestock waste can be a significant source of contamination. Reduce this impact by feeding livestock and providing water and shade as far away from streams or ponds as possible. Sensitive riparian areas should be fenced to reduce livestock access. Planting grass buffer strips between lots and nearby streams also reduces bacterial contamination of water.
  • Use proper waste management practices in and around livestock lots -- Control and contain runoff from feedlots, use proper manure handling practices, divert runoff away from feedlots and maintain a wide grass buffer between areas where livestock concentrate and ponds or streams.
  • Maintain your septic system-- Failing septic systems are a hazard to water quality and pose a threat to public health. Old systems that consist of nothing more than a pipe from the house or a septic tank to a ditch or stream do not provide adequate treatment of waste and are a violation of county codes. Septic tanks should be pumped out frequently and other maintenance should be performed regularly to ensure that your system is in good repair.