Local News

Bacteria Once Again Sinks Summer Fun At Lake Wheeler

Posted August 23, 2006 5:32 a.m. EDT

— An area lake has been closed to some recreational activities for the second time this summer.

Raleigh officials have temporarily closed Lake Wheeler to water skiing, tubing and swimming after tests showed elevated levels of bacteria.

According to parks supervisor Richard Costello, the city put the restrictions in place on Monday. The park is not renting kayaks on the lake, but boating and fishing are allowed.

Lake Wheeler and Lake Benson were closed to recreational activities in June after a sewage spill sent 8 million gallons of raw sewage into Swift Creek in Cary.

Costello said city officials have found elevated bacteria levels in Lake Wheeler six times this summer. The city is attempting to pinpoint the source of the bacteria. Possible culprits include stormwater runoff, remnants from the sewage spill, algae blooms caused by warm weather, and wildlife in the area.

"I wish I could give more definitive answers about what is causing it," Costello said. "I just do not know."

The lake will reopen to all activities as soon as tests show bacteria levels have returned to normal. Costello said that could occur as soon as late Wednesday.