Officials Warn Public of Possible Debris and Needles Along Riverbanks

SACRAMENTO -- As the weather starts to get warmer, fire crews are warning the public about the possible dangers near riverbanks that include more than just fast-moving waters.

“There’s a lot of fishing going on and pretty soon, with the warm weather, families will be out there,” said Roberto Padilla, Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522. “Whether they are out at Discovery Park or Tiscornia Park, or just finding their favorite water hole.”

But the recent high waters from heavy rainfall could be hiding potential dangers.

“There’s also a lot of canals, and slews and overflows, along Northgate or Garden Highway, a lot of people get in there,” Padilla said. “That particular area does seem to have a particular high number of needles and other debris.”

Sometimes, after heavy flooding, unseen dangers can be carried downstream or left behind.

“You got people that do drugs and leave stuff all over the place,” Dan Aderholt said.

Aderholt is a part of a cleanup crew working to keep the banks of the American River clean.

Although he agrees there are a select few in the homeless community who may be leaving behind trash, he says the biggest problem in areas along the river is illegal dumping.

“Refrigerators, stoves, microwaves dishwashers,” Aderholt listed. “When the trash comes down from it, it destroys the American River Parkway over here.”

Padilla says it's possible the trash and needles may be carried down the river and believes the public should be on high alert.

“The high waters came, it deposited a layer of silt on top of that so, now it’s a little more hidden, so to the average person it could look like dirt but in reality, it could be needles and other debris that are dangerous,” Padilla explained.

Padilla is also warning people taking advantage of the warmer temperatures to stay out of the water due to swift currents and large debris.

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