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E. coli levels back to normal in some parts of the James River

AMHERST COUNTY, Va.- – Environmentalists are keeping a close eye on the James River. The first test of the water this year revealed higher than normal levels of E. coli. But it is now safe to get in the water. 

Ryan Holbrook and his family like to spend many of their days enjoying the James River during the summer.

"Fishing, swimming, we love that there is free multiple access points," said Holbrook.

A test conducted last week by the James River Association showed higher than normal levels of E. coli for many parts of the river. 

"So we're not specifically worried about the E. coli. It's just that we know after a storm, to stay out of the water for a couple days," said Holbrook.

Rob Campbell with the James River Association said E. coli levels were higher because of the recent rains.

"We did have some elevated levels of E. coli. It was barely over the state standard. We were just over the top of what we were seeing normally in the river according to the Department of Environmental Quality," said Campbell. 

The James River tested at a 10. Seven or below is a normal range for the state.  

"It's like we're standing there right now actually passes the test of E. coli 96 percent of the time. So it's only a few rare times we were actually about that state standard," said Campbell.

The organization will continue to monitor the water. There will be testing from 28 points along the James all summer.

The James River Association has a website, jamesriverwatch.org, where you can check the boating, swimming, and fishing conditions for any area of the river. Another testing of the E. coli levels will be done Thursday.

The non-profit also runs James River Adventures. According to its website, it offers opportunities for exploring and enjoying the scenic James by canoe, kayak, standup paddleboard, or tube.