The beach at Backbone State Park in northeast Iowa remains closed for this Memorial Day weekend due to high levels of bacteria. Janice Boekhoff with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says they’re awaiting the results of more tests to determine if sewage being released from the Strawberry Point sewage plant is causing the problem. She says they’ll keep it closed until they determine if that sewage discharge is a factor in the bacteria levels. There is one other beach that has a bacteria problem. She says the Geode state park has a warning sign up, although the beach is not closed. The advisory sign at Lake Darling has been taken down. The weather has been cooler over much of the state, but Boekhoff says that shouldn’t impact the bacteria problems. She says the water temperature is not a big factor, it’s sunlight that determines how long the bacteria live, as they’re killed by ultrviolet light. This is the fourth year for beach testing, and she says most of the time swimmers don’t have to worry. She says we’ve had a 96 percent rate of beaches being safe for swimming based on the test results. She says when levels are up, they usually go down pretty soon. You can view the water-testing results at the D-N-R’s website.
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