The Effingham County Emergency Management Agency still maintains the Ogeechee River advisory until further notice.
The U.S. Geological Survey has the water levels for the Ogeechee River at 2.14 feet as of Thursday, which is below normal for the area.
“I was advised that the bacterial disease columnaris and aeromonus was a naturally occurring bacterium in the Ogeechee River as in any river caused by environmental stress,” said Effingham EMA Director Ed Myrick. “What is still unclear is what made the fish susceptible to this naturally occurring bacterium. It has been thought that low water flow and warm temperatures could have been the multiple factors that weakened the fish to the point that they were susceptible to the disease; those factors are still in place.
“Even though we do not have any current reports of dead fish being located,” Myrick continued, “we are still getting sporadic calls from concerned citizens regarding the safety of the Ogeechee River. Considering all the factors in place, including the total mercury fish tissue contamination report, the Effingham County Emergency Management Agency has determined to continue the Ogeechee River Advisory until conditions improve.”
Bulloch County lifted its advisory earlier this week for fishing and swimming after tests showed no dangerous chemical levels, according to Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
Advisories were issued along the Ogeechee River after a 3-foot-long catfish was discovered dead in the river on Memorial Day weekend. The fish kill that wiped out 38,000 fish in the river took place in May 2011, and columnaris was identified as the culprit.