‘We asked them also to put up signs’: High levels of E. coli found at Tiscornia Beach

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Hot temperatures are drawing people to the cool water of Tiscornia Beach, but what many there may not know, there are high levels of E.coli found in the water.

“I think it’s disgusting,” one woman told FOX40.

“I’ve heard about it before. That’s why I’m not wet,” laughed one man.

Spouses Robert and Mary Beth Metcalf have been testing samples of water along the American River every Saturday for nearly a year.

“Tiscornia 2, that had three E.coli colonies on it, which is about the threshold,” Robert Metcalf explained. “But then we go to Tiscornia 3. Yeah, we have more than 50 and the EPA says you shouldn’t have more than four in any sampling.” 

Robert Metcalf is a retired professor who’s taught microbiology at Sacramento State University for 42 years.

He said finding E. coli in the water means there is recent fecal contamination.

Mary Beth Metcalf, a retired clinical professor of pediatrics from UC Davis, said E.coli leads to other infections.

“Dysentery, salmonella, shigella, and if we lived in some parts of the world, we’d have to worry about cholera. All those travel with E. coli,” she explained.

“Levels are getting much worse as the temperatures go up, especially a hot day like today,” said Steven Green of Save the American River Association.

Green said he’s asked city and county officials to take action, which may include closing beaches.

“We asked them also to put up signs that would warn people about this,” Green said. 

“What we really would like to see are some colorful signs on the beach,” Mary Beth Metcalf told FOX40. “Caution. Swim at your own risk. Fecal contamination is frequently found here. Something like that.” 

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