There are high levels of bacteria in Storm Lake, but officials don’t know whether it’s connected to a spill at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant. Kevin Baskins of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says wastewater from the packing plant spilled into Storm Lake last week. Baskins says initial tests showed elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria, but it’s hard to tell the source since a lot of rain fell during the time period and the contamination could have come from somewhere else. Baskins says a second round of tests should be completed sometime later this week. The state does not regularly test Storm Lake since there’s no state beach there. A second test to check for bacteria at Marble Beach along Spirit Lake shows e-coli levels have dropped.Baskins says a reading taken last week was high for Marble Beach in Okoboji, and it’s an area that has not had a history of problems. The results of the second test came back yesterday, and the bacteria levels have “gone down significantly” and Baskins says there’s no problem at the beach.Baskins says the beach was never closed. He says there are eight beaches around the state that have “chronic” problems with bacteria, but the beaches in the Okoboji area have only “sporadic” problems which are normally associated with heavy rainfall. Weekly beach monitoring results are posted on the DNR’s website every Friday afternoon at http://iowadnr.com/news/beach.html.
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