Safe Practices for Swimming at Rivers, Lakes, and Streams

It is important to know that our rivers, lakes and streams are an open resource for the public, animals and wildlife. These water sources are considered non-potable (not safe to drink) because of their inherent risk contamination from potentially harmful organisms such as Blue-Green algae and E. coli (a bacteria in the waste of animals/birds/humans).  Under the right conditions, these organisms or the toxins they produce can make people and animals sick if ingested or absorbed through open cuts or wounds. 

 It is recommended that everyone visiting rivers, lakes or streams practice these general safe and healthy habits for swimming:
  • Avoid areas that have algae or discolored water
  • Individuals who are immunocompromised should avoid contact with the water
  • Wash hands and shower after swimming or playing in the water
  • Do not drink or cook with the water
  • Do not swim if you are sick or have open cuts or wounds
  • Do not enter the water for several days after a significant rainstorm
  • Do not swim near any pipes that are draining water into the area



​​Individuals who suspect they may have gotten sick after swimming in rivers or streams in Sacramento County should report it to the Sacramento County Division of Public Health ( at 916-875-5881 so that the source of the illness can be investigated.
Additional Resources

E. Coli monitoring information and status for beaches at Sacramento County Parks

State of California – Blue Green Algae and Harmful Algal Blooms Monitoring Program