UPDATE: Devil’s Lake’s North Shore Beach is now open as of noon, Friday Jun 26. Wednesday and Thursday’s water sample [E. Coli] results were back within the “safe” zone and the north shore beach is again open for swimming. The closure signs are removed from the beach and all signage & voice messages are being updated and changed.
What is E. Coli?
E. coli is a common form of coliform bacteria that is found in the large intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals. It is used as an indicator organism since it is easily cultured, and if present in elevated amounts, indicates that fecal matter is present in the water. If fecal matter is in the water, then other disease-causing bacteria may also be present..
How long will it take to clean the lake?
You can not “clean” a natural lake in the way that you might a swimming pool. You simply must wait for levels to go down in the affected area.
We were in the lake this morning! Why didn’t they get the signs up faster?
When a water sample is taken from the various parts of the lake, it takes a couple days to send in the sample to a lab and get the results back. This means that the test result that close the beach were actually from 2 or 3 days ago. By the time the signs go up, the numbers will have changed. It could be higher, lower or the same. This is why retesting takes place right away.
Why is there an advisory for one side of the lake and not the other?
Sometimes there will be an advisory for only one side or section of a lake or beach area. This is because the body of water is large enough that it is possible to have one end with elevated bacteria levels and the other end to be considered under safe levels with little threat of being contaminated. This is why you will see swimming, boating and other activities going on as usual in other areas of the lake.
- Click here to learn more about e coli and beach monitoring from the Wisconsin DNR.
- A good E. Coli overview – Purdue U.
- Thinking differently about E-coli – from the national park service
- Symptoms of E. Coli – Mayo Clinic