How dangerous is Wabash Valley water?


VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Do you know what’s in your water?

Mercury, nitrates, lead, e-coli, these all contaminate Wabash Valley waterways.

“People dumping refrigerators and freezers in the stream. We’re worried about things like mercury that last a long time in the water. And it comes from these things…And septic systems are a huge deal. That’s another thing that’s a burden on land owners, to maintain their septic systems,” said Adam Grossman, Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department.

And each one can have fatal consequences.

One of the major concerns is e-coli. But it’s one experts keep a close eye on in the Wabash Valley. They test the levels in the water on a weekly basis.

But that doesn’t stop it from happening.

“Anything. Like ducks, can attribute to e-coli pollution. Cows next to streams, in streams..
E-coli standards get too high, you can’t swim in it. You definitely can’t drink it,” said Grossman.

Indiana tops the list for water pollution in the country. That’s according to a recent environmental study. We’re dumping millions of pounds into our streams and lakes each year.

And things like mercury and lead can stick around for quite some time.

“Very hard to clean up, really expensive to clean up, and hang around for a lifetime. Things like mercury get absorbed into fish tissue, that are actually very harmful in certain doses,” said Grossman.

We blame the pollution on big business and that assumption is correct.

But really, the ordinary citizen is the worst culprit, doing things like expelling copious amounts of fertilizer into our lawns, then it washing into our waterways.

Visulize this. It’s like putting a rubber ducky into the water.

One is fine, but not just one person is polluting our waterways.

“We have monitoring stations that monitor these big businesses and I’m not saying they don’t pollute because obviously they do a little bit, but there’s things that are unmonitored like nitrates, e-coli being flushed in. There’s so much, it’s hard to keep track of,” said Grossman.

Water quality’s gotten a lot better in the past twenty years.

But there’s still a long way to go and it can’t be done without you.

Check out this website to find out if where you’re fishing or boating is safe. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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