UPDATED: No Swim Advisory for South Yuba River from below the Town of Washington to Englebright Lake

This is a developing story, we will update as more information becomes available.

September 21, 2019 at 6:03 PM

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The South Yuba River from below the Town of Washington to Englebright, including Englebright Lake, currently have a NO SWIM ADVISORY due to unknown sediments in the water, and dangerous levels of E.coli. Additional testing by Nevada County Environmental Health shows increasing levels of sediments downstream of the South Yuba River near Bridgeport and Englebright Lake today. Nevada County Environmental Health extended the No Swim Advisory to include Englebright Lake earlier today.

E.coli levels found in preliminary tests by Environmental Health were identified as double the safe recommended levels by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and are toxic to humans and animals. The No Swim Advisory includes swimming, ingesting, bathing and recreational activities.

In addition to testing for toxic substances such as E.coli, the County is testing for toxic metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury. With Nevada County’s history of mining, these metals are frequently found in the area and may be in the sediment flowing down the South Yuba River and into Englebright Lake. Full test results for metals testing will take about 3 to 4 days.

Upon initial notification, the County worked with CHP to fly a helicopter upstream and went out again today. The source appears to be above the State Highway 49 Bridge on the South Yuba River. Officials continue to work on confirming a direct source, but it appears to be a plume that is moving downriver.

The cause is still currently under investigation. The County is working with local, state and federal resources to identify the source and extent of the contamination, including South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL), California State Parks, California Highway Patrol, the State Water Board, EPA, and Nevada County Consolidated Fire District.

Today, State Parks, SYRCL staff and volunteers assisted Environmental Health to collect additional water samples for testing in various locations from Humbug Creek on the South Yuba River to Englebright Lake. Volunteers from this morning’s Yuba River Cleanup helped to post No Swim Advisory signs near common river recreation locations. The Army Corp of Engineers and Skippers Cover Marina also assisted County staff in notifying boaters of the No Swim Advisory on Englebright Lake.

The County will continue to provide updates at www.MyNevadaCounty.com/YubaRiverAdvisory. In the meanwhile, we appreciate everyone’s cooperation following the No Swim Advisory in the South Yuba River and Englebright Lake. Individuals may also call 211 Connecting Point for more information by dialing 2-1-1 or calling 1 (844) 319-4119.

September 21, 2019 at 5:44 PM There is a NO SWIM ADVISORY due to over twice the amount of E.coli considered safe by the EPA.

Meanwhile, Nevada County staff went out on Englebright Lake today with the Army Corp of Engineers to let boaters know of the No Swim Advisory and caution any recreational activities due to dangerous E.coli levels.

September 21, 2019 at 1:00 PM Preliminary test results show dangerous levels of E.coli. No Swim Advisory continues for the South Yuba River from the Town of Washington to Englebright, including Englebright Lake.

No Swim Advisory extended to include Englebright Lake, in addition to the South Yuba River from the Town of Washington to Englebright Lake.

NEVADA CITY, Calif. September 20, 2019 – The South Yuba river downstream from the Town of Washington is experiencing heavy sedimentation.

Nevada County just issued the following No Swim Advisory:

Photo YubaNet

The South Yuba River, from below the Town of Washington to Lake Englebright, currently appears to have high level of sediments of unknown origin suspended in the water creating potentially unsafe river conditions for all people and animals. The cause is under investigation, and due to possibly unsafe swimming and recreation conditions, Nevada County Environmental Health has issued a No Swim Advisory for the South Yuba River below Washington to Englebright Lake.

Local officials including Nevada County, South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL), State Parks, and Nevada County Consolidated Fire District met to discuss current river conditions. Officials from Nevada County Environmental Health went to various South Yuba River locations to take water samples for testing. Full test results will take 3 to 4 days.

With SYRCL’s annual Yuba River Cleanup tomorrow, volunteers are advised to use extra caution to not come into contact with the water and to keep pets away. Some sites may be redirected to alternative areas to protect volunteers from any safety concerns on the South Yuba River. SYRCL’s site leads will be working with volunteers at each of the 35 cleanup locations if redirection to other sites is needed. For questions about SYRCL’s Yuba River Cleanup, please check www.yubariver.org.

For updates, visit www.MyNevadaCounty.com/YubaRiverAdvisory. Individuals can also call 211 Connecting Point by dialing 2-1-1 or calling 1 (844) 319-4119.

Cooperation between Nevada County, State Parks, CHP and SYRCL

Local agencies and State Parks quickly convened  a meeting at the Emergency Operations Center in the county building. Various county departments, the CEO and many of her staff decided to err on the side of caution and issue the No Swim Advisory above.

Signage is being installed at popular river crossings in the contaminated areas and tomorrow SYRCL’s cleanup volunteers will add additional signs along the river. Local fire agencies were present at the meeting and CHP dispatched their helicopter to find the point of origin.

Nevada County Environmental Health has taken water samples and the test results, provided by a local lab, will be available early next week. Downstream agencies have been notifoed as well as state agencies.

This is a developing story, we will update as more information becomes available.

Below are some of the photos YubaNet took this afternoon at the 49’er Bridge.