The second week of testing of the water at state beaches by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shows no problems with high bacteria levels. Beach monitoring program coordinator, Jason McCurdy, says the dry conditions are a big reason the first two weeks have come up without high readings.
“Seems like the last few years our spring, like May and June, were a bit wetter than we’ve been experiencing this year, so I think that’s why in years past we’ve had at least a couple of advisories each week the first few weeks of the season,” McCurdy says. “Whereas this year it’s been fairly dry so we just haven’t seen the bacteria getting carried in that runoff to the lake, so that’s why we’ve been free of bacteria advisories to this point.”
Some areas of the state have seen a little rain at the end of the week and that could change some water conditions. “The rain we just received will likely have some impact on the water quality at the beaches. It was kind of a slower rain, so there wasn’t a lot of runoff, but I’m sure some of it got in there,” McCurdy says.
He says you should just take some precautions if you go swimming, such as avoiding swallowing lake water, showering after swimming, and washing your hands before eating anything after being in the water. Signs are posted on the beaches when high levels of bacteria are detected, but McCurdy says no warning sign doesn’t mean the water is clear of bacteria.
“Not necessarily, at the time we collected the sample that’s what the water quality conditions were like. Conditions are extremely variable from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, so we always recommend that you take those precautions,” McCurdy says.
You can find out more by calling the beach monitoring hotline at: 319-353-2613, or go to the D.N.R.’s website at: www.iowadnr.gov.
Water at state beaches is checked weekly between Memorial Day and Labor Day.