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E-M:/ Woman dies after inhaling Portage River water and muck during car accident

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

An article in the Vicksburg (Kalamazoo County) Commercial Express
newspaper (not available on line that I could find) on August 23th
reports that a 24 year old woman who was rescued and survived an auto
accident that dumped her into the Portage River just upstream from
Indian Lake died a month later from a bacterial infection in her lungs
caused by inhaling the water and muck from the river.  Kalamazoo County
Health Department has been testing the water at this location for the
past three years, in part prompted by concerns about agricultural
run-off. Tests a week prior to the accident fell just shy of 700 units
of E.coli per 100 ml of water, more than double the level the state
considers unsafe for allowing swimming at beaches.

As the article notes, "For her rescuers, Sanchez's death has also raised
a number of questions about the quality of the water in the Portage
River. 'The nurses at the hospital just kept saying if the water was
clean, she would be alive,' said Sheri Freeland.  According to officials
at Langeland Funeral Home where Sanchez's service was held last Tuesday,
she died of an infection in her lungs. 'The doctors said she died
because of a bad infection in her lungs from the water,' said Armando
Aguilar. 'We want this water clean,' said Sheri Freeland. 'We want to
know if it is safe.  It isn't even posted as dangerous anymore.'"

Anne Woiwode, Director
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue,  Lansing, MI  48906
ph: 517-484-2372 fx: 517-484-3108 e: anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org
website:  http://michigan.sierraclub.org 

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