The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is continuing its contamination advisories for three beaches, two of which are in Delaware County.
High levels of the E. coli bacteria were detected for beaches at Delaware Reservoir, Alum Creek Reservoir and Madison Lake. Delaware’s E. coli bacteria level was at 359 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters, well above the 235 cfu/100 ml level for Ohio water quality recommendations.
Alum Creek was at 433 cfu per 100 ml and Madison Lake in Madison County was 345 cfu per 100 ml.
Samples were taken Monday and Tuesday and results take about one to two days, said Matt Eiselstein, an ODNR spokesman. Advisories were put in place Friday with warning signs in place. Additional samples were taken Friday with results expected to arrive Monday or Tuesday.
“We’ll sample about every day,” until levels return to recommended levels, Eiselstein said.
Increased fluxes in the geese and wildlife populations usually cause contamination since they carry the bacteria in their systems, he said. Park managers can usually foresee increases in E. coli levels based on the number of geese at the lake.
“That is a problem with our lakes,” Eiselstein said.
E. coli moves rapidly, he added, and the issue can dissipate when rain occurs.
ODNR monitors the beaches on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health with weekly testings, said ODH spokeswoman Melanie Amato.
While the beaches are not closed, goers are advised to swim with a friend, not drink the water and shower before and after going into the lake, she said.
Though not directly involved, the Delaware General Health District is raising awareness about the issue through social media.
“We are sharing this advisory out of concern for public health,” Traci Whittaker, a public information officer for the health district.
The bacteria is commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but some can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Severe symptoms are likely to occur in children and the elderly. Pregnant women and people with weak immune systems can develop serious complications if infected.