SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) The signs at Clinton Square say "No Swimming or Wading", but if you're still looking to venture in even though it's not allowed, you might want to think twice.
NewsChannel 9 had Upstate Laboratories, Inc. take a water sample from the fountain this week. The results showed more than 3000 bacteria strains, including e-coli.
"In other words it is more than 200 times the maximum contaminant level in drinking water," sais Peter Fricano with Upstate Laboratories. "One thing you need to understand is that the water is constantly re-circulating that bacteria is multiplying anaerobically and at any one point in time you don't know what's in there."
On Friday evening, there was a handful of kids swimming in the water despite the signs prohibiting swimming or wading.
"It looks clean when I'm looking at it and I just think it's dust and stuff," said a Syracuse teenager who was at Clinton Square with her brother as he played in the water.
Upstate Laboratories says it's common to find bacteria in fountains that are meant for aesthetic purposes, which is why it is not safe for people to bathe or swim in them. The bacteria mostly come from birds.
"Basically what they do is they defecate in that water and that fecal material may contain e-coli, may contain pathogenic diseases, it may also contain parasites," says Fricano.
Fricano says one way to eliminate the bacteria from the water at Clinton Square is through chlorine, but the City says doing so would only encourage people to swim illegally.