Chattahoochee Riverkeeper staff collect water samples from the Chattahoochee River. (Chattahoochee Riverkeeper/Facebook)

All sections of the Chattahoochee River have been reopened by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) after being closed due to elevated E. coli contamination.

Up to 15 miles of the river were closed in late June as a safety precaution after E. coli levels increased, stemming from a release at Big Creek Water Reclamation Facility operated by Fulton County.

The bacterial levels are now below the criteria recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, though conditions remain subject to change, CRNRA Superintendent Ann Honious said in a press release on July 19. 

Daily water quality sampling has been conducted by the park and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper daily since detecting the spill, she said.

“U.S. Public Health Service officials supported the reopening after seeing continual improvement in sampling results and process improvements at the Fulton County facility. The park is assessing impacts on wildlife, vegetation, and aquatic resources,” Honious said.

The park will continue its BacteriALERT partnership with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and the U.S. Geological Survey to monitor water quality at Medlock Bridge, Powers Island, and Paces Mill. 

She advised park visitors before getting in the water to always remember to wear a life vest and check the flow rate, weather forecast, and bacteria levels.

Current information about the river is available on social media and at www.nps.gov/CHAT

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.