Flood waters by Moodern Woodmen Park test positive for E.Coli

Published: Apr. 5, 2019 at 6:41 PM CDT
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If you're ever tempted to walk in floodwater, this story should change your mind. We sent a sample of water from Moodern Woodmen Park on Monday to a local lab, and we found the water tested positive for E. Coli.

With his boots on, Randall Wanke makes his way to a flooded parking lot at Moodern Woodmen Park in Davenport. He dips a bottle down and gets some water.

“We're going to test this water for E. Coli bacteria back at the lab,” said Wanke.

After the sample, Wanke heads back to work at QC Analytical in LeClaire. Wanke has been a lab director at the facility for 13 years.

“We simply take our 100 ml sample and pour off a little bit,” said Wanke.

He puts sugary packets in the water to help identify the bacteria. Then seals it, his goal is to be able to find what's in the water. With many parts of the QCA already flooded, he says you never know what you may find.

“Typically in the Mississippi River it's not totally void of those bacteria’s, we do see some,” said Wanke.

After 24 hours, we checked the sample.

“So I am going to count them one, two, three, four, five, and then there's one down here six,” said Wanke.

Six counts of E.Coli tested positive in the water we got at the park.

“This actually to me is a little bit unexpected because normally in the main channel of the river we might see 20 to 30 counts and so right now we are seeing lower than that,” said Wanke.

Wanke says that may have to do with the sample coming from the shallow water in the parking lot. Although the results are surprising, E. Coli is something that can be harmful.

“For people that live near the river and have private wells. That same flood water could contaminate their well water,” said Wanke.

So before you think about running through the water or letting your pet in the water. Wanke says it's important to remember it’s not safe.

“Any E.Coli bacteria if you ingested it, it is possible that it could make you sick,” said Wanke.

The sample we took was on Monday and since then more water has filled the ballpark. So what's currently in the water now could be different.

Of course, there can be other unseen hazards in the water like chemicals, sharp debris or deep holes. The Illinois Department of Public Health offers free water sample analysis if you want to get the flood water tested around your home or neighborhood.