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FREDERICK, Md. – Through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, several colleges tested fresh water streams and lakes in Maryland that show high levels of harmful bacteria, specifically in Frederick, the harmful bacteria enterococcus was found.

Especially after rainstorms, enterococcus was found in six different freshwater lakes and streams in Frederick, according to water samples taken to date through the summer at Hood College.

Hood College's Coastal Studies Coordinator, Claire Hudson, said enterococcus is an indication of fecal contamination and is mostly measured for human waste.

For instance, Glade Run, a local freshwater lake tested more than 200 times the safety standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or EPA.

Other places tested include Culler Lake, Carroll Creek, Rock Creek, Owens Creek, Glade Run and an unnamed water source in front of Frederick High School.

"Our goal is to let the public know which streams are safe for their children, and [what we have] been finding, sadly, is all of the sights we've been responsible for, they're not safe at all, they far exceed the safety limit for EPA," Hudson said.

The lead student researcher, Sara Eckard, said the water samples were taken from areas that are not typically tested.

"We're monitoring these local community sites and really [spreading] awareness to the people of Frederick [about] what's in their water, and perhaps we should be doing things to keep it cleaner," Eckard said.

Eckard said the standard of enterococcus is 61 CFU (colony forming units) per 100 millimeters, but many of the water sources tested were well about that.

According to Hood College's data, Hudson said this warrants a further investigation from the city to determine the point source of the high levels of enterococcus.

One local family, Chris and Christy Tressler, said they let their kids play in lakes and creeks, but would not if they knew there were dangerous levels of bacteria.

"Kids and adults really care about how clean their water is, and we definitely want the city to pay attention to what's going on, and we hope something gets done soon," Chris Tressler said.

Besides Frederick, Howard and Harford counties were also tested by Howard Community College and Harford Community College. All three places had significantly higher readings of bacteria than the EPA standard calls for. The sampling and testing will continue for the remainder of the summer.

As for county officials, they were notified of the harmful levels of bacteria Thursday morning.