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Bacteria forces closure of Lake Wheeler beach

Posted August 5, 2010

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— Wake County on Thursday closed recreational swimming areas at Lake Wheeler beach because of elevated levels of bacteria.

The county routinely tests recreational lakes for bacteria, and when levels of enterococci bacteria exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards, the area is closed to any activity where someone's head might go underwater, officials said.

“Our goal is to eliminate the potential for citizens to come into contact with excessive levels of bacteria, as that could result in creating illness conditions for individuals," Wake County Environmental Services Director Tommy Esqueda said in a statement. "We will continue to collect water samples on a daily basis for the area and reopen the lake for swimming as soon as the bacteria levels fall below the EPA-established standards.“

Lake Wheeler isn't closed to fishing.


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  • Lou Epstien Aug 6, 2010

    I have lived by and fished this lake since '96 and I can't recall it every being closed before the sewage spill.

  • oleguy Aug 5, 2010

    Nah the sewage gives the fish more of a beefy flavor, All you have to do is sniff them, thats what the Govt is doing down on the gulf

  • geosol Aug 5, 2010

    WOW!! So some people think this is the result of a sewage spill that happened over four years ago?!?! I mean, it couldn't have anything to do with current sources like failing septic systems or animal waste, could it? NAH!!!! I wonder where all of the other bacteria warnings here that occurred before 2006 actually came from......

  • Made In USA Aug 5, 2010

    June 24, 2006 was the date the 8+ milion gallon sewage spill ocurred. For more information, here is a link to WRAL's coverage of this story.


  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Aug 5, 2010

    "Can't do, much of the coast is owned by the Buffaloes and they won't sell."

    Then drain it and tell them to pave over this sewage dump.

    As for "hope they're not eating they fish" trust me, those fish have been dead for years.

  • BritSteve Aug 5, 2010

    This has been going on ever since the sewage leak into Swift Creek a few years ago. how is the lake ever going to be safe enough to be used as a back up water supply for Raleigh?

    So no water skiing or tubing for a while, and I hope that nobody is eating any fish that they caught from there. The lake has been ruined by the sewage leak, and it may never be the same. People around here are going to Harris Lake for their water sports.

  • chauncey7381 Aug 5, 2010

    It is confusing, because I don't know of any official swimming areas at Lake Wheeler. I'm going to assume they don't want anyone skiing, water tubing etc until the levels are normal. I was planning to sail again out there this Sunday. I'll call first!

  • rebecca7 Aug 5, 2010

    If my comment goes through, they changed the story as soon as I submitted it. GRRR

  • rebecca7 Aug 5, 2010

    This story is confusing. Swimming is not allowed at Lake Wheeler ... the only way anyone is actually allowed in the water is if they fall of their skis or water tube being dragged by a boat. There is technically NO SWIMMING areas and it's not allowed there whatsoever. I used to be a park manager there.

  • chauncey7381 Aug 5, 2010

    I launched my Sunfish out there a couple of weeks ago, surely the area between the boat ramps and the docks isn't an official swimming area? If so, I saw no one swimming and I noted the beach area had a good bit of duck and goose "do"....