Local News

Bacteria forces closure of Lake Wheeler beach

Posted August 24, 2010 5:22 p.m. EDT

— Wake County on Tuesday 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.

Acceptable levels of enterococci should not exceed 61 colony forming units (cfu) per 100 milliliters. The county tested multiple sites around the lake and found amounts ranging from 574.8 to 2419.6 cfu, 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.