How can I tell if a flowing river is safe to drink from?

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  • 4 weeks ago
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    You can't without testing.  The stuff that causes water to be unsafe is not usually visible to the naked eye.  It can be, when it is really bad (I mean, if you see lumps of human crap floating in the water it is good bet that you should not drink that water), but it can still be dangerous even when it looks just fine.

    I caught Giardia once, I can only presume from a mountain stream while hiking.  It was most unpleasant.  I don't recommend it.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Assume that it isn't. Your chances of finding water that you don't have to treat before drinking declines as you go from the source to the ocean. I have seen effluents from wastewater treatment plants that were cleaner than the streams they flowed into.

    Be like W. C. Fields, who said that he never drank water because he knew what fish did in it.

  • 4 weeks ago

    the lack of dead animals along the river banks

  • 4 weeks ago

    There won't be many turds floating past.

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