Ohio beaches reach high levels of bacteria


The Ohio Department of Health has declared a water advisory on 21 Ohio beaches for unsafe levels of E. Coli.

Popular beaches in the central Ohio area now under advisories include Madison Lake in Madison County; Dillon in Muskingum County; Scioto Trail and Paint Creek in Ross County; Buckeye Lake in Fairfield County; and Alum Creek in Delaware County.

Currently, Deer Creek State Park beach has no advisory posted, but the water will continue to be tested throughout the swim season that lasts until Sept. 9. The testing is part of a beach monitoring program conducted by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

According to Melanie Amato, public information officer for Ohio Department of Health, the lake will be tested once a week if bacteria levels are high. She said that for an advisory to be posted at the lake, the level of E. Coli has to be 235 or greater of colonies E.Coli/100 ml of water.

Amato advises swimmers to shower before and after getting in the water. She said pets should stay out of the water, but if they do come in contact with the water, owners should rinse them off.

The presence of E. Coli at other Ohio beaches is higher due to the excessive rain, Amato said. The rain causes run-off from fertilizers and animals that can increase the level of bacteria in the water.

If a beach is considered to have high levels of bacteria, signs will be posted advising against swimming. Amato said a lake will never be shut down due to high bacteria levels and all swimmers swim at their own risk.

The Ohio Department of Health advises children, the elderly and those who are ill not to swim at a beach with an advisory posting because it could make them sick.