California Homeless Crisis: Sacramento River Contaminated With Human Feces

E. coli at unsafe levels in popular river

Image Credits: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

A popular Sacramento river is contaminated with dangerous levels of E. coli bacteria due to human feces being introduced by vagrants, according to reports.

Testing conducted this summer by the Sacramento Bee revealed that the water is being tainted by hundreds of homeless living in camps that “line the banks” of the American River, which is having a negative effect on swimming, angling, and other recreational activities.

“Water samples reviewed by The Bee showed dangerous E. coli spikes this summer when swimmers were present at Tiscornia Beach, a popular summertime gathering spot where the American and Sacramento rivers converge north of downtown. There, a swirling effect from the currents causes any bacteria washing from upstream to linger,” the Bee reports.

Thirteen out of 15 weekly water samples taken at the beach since June exceeded state and federal standards, records show. Those estimates determine when at least three out of every 100 swimmers would be expected to suffer ailments such as diarrhea from coming in contact with feces-fouled water.”

The Bee found that E. coli levels were as much as six times higher than the safety threshold during peak swimming season.

There are few public restrooms near the river, and officials reportedly refuse to add any more as they will likely be trashed or destroyed by vagrants, or used for drug abuse or prostitution.

Additionally, officials refuse to pin the E. coli contamination on the homeless, and instead have commissioned a multi-year study with a price tag of up to $800,000 to determine its origins.

“You don’t need a Ph.D. to say, ‘There’s somebody pooping in the river. Let’s put a bathroom out,’” Stanford University professor and water quality specialist Alexandria Boehm told the Bee, adding that she would not swim in the tainted river or allow a child into the water.

Sacramento County reportedly spent $50 million on ‘homeless services’ in 2018.


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