- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
According to a report in the Washington Post, scientists recently ran high-tech tests in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers and discovered that most of the germs were caused by wildlife dung. They noted that higher-than-normal populations of deer, geese and raccoons living in modern suburbs deposited their wastes, which wash into the river systems and lead to bacterial and germ generation.
Officials said it would be next to impossible to kill or relocate enough of the animals to make a dent in the situation and it would be a very unpopular choice with the public. Calculations determined that in order to meet current water quality standards, the wildlife refuse would have to be reduced by some 83 percent.
The studies showed that human wastes only accounted for 20 to 24 percent of bacterial growth, compared to 10 percent from livestock, and nearly all of the rest from wild creatures.
Some groups are wondering if the standards should be changed to allow wildlife to be wild and permanently restrict water recreation. “If you were here when Captain John Smith rode up the Anacostia River [in 1603], and you tested the water, it would probable have a good bit of coliform in it because of the wildlife,” said Robert Boone, president of an environmental group called the Anacostia Watershed Society.