The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has resumed its weekly water tests at some 80 swimming areas in the state. Eric O’Brien, is the DNR’s beach monitoring coordinator. O’Brien says the first week they didn’t see any elevated results, but this past weekend there was a lot of rains and that led to three advisories being issued this week.
The advisories were issued for Clear Lake, Lake Darling and Rock Creek Lake State Park beaches after they showed high bacteria levels. O’Brien says the advisories have one purpose. They’re to make sure people take precautions and the beaches are not close. O’Brien says they warn people not to swallow the water and advise them to wash their hands and use proper hygiene.
O’Brien says while the recent rainy weather is believed to be the culprit for the high bacteria levels, that’s not always the case. He says it’s very specific to each beach, as some are not impacted at all by rain, and the rain actually helps reduce the bacteria at some beaches. The DNR started the program checking state beaches, and has not expanded that to 43 city, county beaches and recreational areas.
O’Brien says all the up-to-date monitoring results are posted on the Iowa DNR website. He says they also have a phone number for the beach hot-line that is updated as soon as the advisory status changes. O’Brien says the water is usually tested on Mondays and Tuesdays.