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Volunteers infected by bacteria at University Lake

3 years ago September 18, 2012 Sep 18, 2012 Tuesday, September 18 2012 Tuesday, September 18, 2012 4:50:18 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Brittany Weiss

BATON ROUGE - Sewage seeping into University Lake in Baton Rouge has led to serious infections in people.

Volunteers working to clean up vegetation in the lake were admitted to the ER after bacteria from the water spread to open wounds.

Matt Thomas had an infection that started at his ankle and spread to above his knee. He says manhole covers around the lake get pressurized by rain water, and create a "geyser effect" of human waste. The waste then flows downhill into the lake.

"I've always seen the sewage overflow," Thomas said.

Department of Public Works spokespeople said they are aware of the issue and are working to fix it. They've begun a 2-year, $60 million project to upgrade the sewage system around the lake.

Thomas said so far, the work DPW has completed has not reduced sewage flow in the water.

"I recommend the city get its sewage problems fixed," said Thomas. "So we can clean the lake up to a point so the average person can go hop in the lake."

Meanwhile, volunteers are using the lake's natural resources to clean the lake. Floating hyacinth is a natural water purifier that thrives on bacteria and harmful waste.

Public Works has an informational meeting about the sewage issues next Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Bluebonnet Branch Library.

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