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Lake Wheeler beach reopens; bacteria levels deemed safe

Posted August 8, 2009

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— Lake Wheeler in Raleigh reopened to recreational activities on Saturday. Wake County Environmental Services closed the beach on Tuesday due to elevated levels of bacteria in the water.

"Bacteria levels tested within Environmental Protection Agency standards for two consecutive days," environmental services officials said Saturday.

Routine tests earlier in the week showed levels of enterococci, which can cause infections and lead to diarrhea, exceeded standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Enterococci is typically found in the digestive tracts and feces of warm-blooded animals.

Acceptable levels of enterococci should not exceed 60 colony forming units (cfu) per 100 milliliters. At Beaverdam Beach, tests found levels over 100 cfu.

“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," Wake County Environmental Services Director Tommy Esqueda said in a statement.

Beaverdam, Falls Lake and Sandling beaches were closed for several days in July for the same reason. Beaverdam and Holly Point beaches were closed in June of 2008 after tests detected the bacteria.


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