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EPD lifts swim advisory for river
But officials continue to advise against Ogeechee fish consumption
052511 FISH KILL 02 web
Ogeechee Riverkeeper director Diana Weddingcamp collects a dead fish on the Ogeechee River near U.S. 301 Wednesday while investigating the recent mass fish kill . - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

An advisory recommending people not swim in the Ogeechee River was lifted Friday according to a news release issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD).
EPD officials announced a fish consumption advisory for citizens will remain in effect, however, pending results of further lab analysis.
“Based on the EPA data, we are confident the swim advisory is no longer appropriate,” said Jim Ussery, Assistant EPD Director, in the release. “The EPA analysis did not detect any chemical substances in the water at unsafe levels.”
The swim advisory, posted last weekend when a fish kill became evident along a 40-mile stretch of the river, was in effect for citizens in Screven, Bulloch, Effingham, and Bryan counties.
“If folks want to swim, the [U.S Environmental Protection Agency] says everything is fine with the water,” said Ted Wynn, Bulloch County Public Safety Director. “We are going to open up our landings and post a sign publicizing the consumption advisory.”
The EPD announced earlier in the week the cause of death for the river’s fish.
“EPD has already announced that the fish died of Columnaris, a bacterial disease caused by environmental stress,” according to the release. “EPD will continue work to determine the cause of that environmental stress. Columnaris is not known to affect humans, but citizens with health questions should contact their personal physicians.”
According to the release, additional laboratory test results are not expected over the holiday weekend.

Jeff Harrison can be reached at 912-489-9454

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