Estero River teeming with bacteria, lack of warnings for danger


The Estero River has around 26 times the level of bacteria than the Florida Department of Health said is safe. Lurking beneath the surface is the problem preventing cleaner waters.

Christine Kingma, a mother of two children, said she uses the Estero River at least three to four times a month. She does not worry about the measurable fecal matter in the water.

“If you think about it there’s the fish that are swimming around and they have their fecal matter that were swimming in all the time,” Kingma said. “It depends on what fecal matter were discussing.”

But Henery Eyring and Karen Hartman are concerned about the impact on their family.

“I hope nobody falls in for starters,” Eyring said.

“I wouldn’t want to be in there,” Hartman said. “I wouldn’t want any of our kids to go in that water because we don’t know what it’s going to cause what health effects it’s going to cause.”

John Casani, a Calusa waterkeeper, confirms tests done last week show the Estero River with unhealthy levels of fecal bacteria, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The State of Florida is likely to do more testing in the coming days to determine if or what needs to be done to clean it up since there is a positive test result for fecal matter.

When the Lee County Dept. of Health finds bacteria in the water, it posts signs, like it did last week at the Cape Coral Yacht Club beach. That is not the case along the Estero River.

“The tributaries while there used for a lot of recreation, kayaking and fishing,” said Ed Shinouskis, a Calusa Waterkeeper. “They’re not designated swimming area so you typically wouldn’t see the same kind of postings you would on a swimming beach.”

Right now, chances are people who use the Estero River for recreation, paddlers, fishers and boaters do not know the river could cause them to get sick.

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