Local News

Falls Lake beaches close again because of bacteria

Posted July 7, 2009 5:40 a.m. EDT
Updated July 10, 2009 5:40 p.m. EDT

— Two beaches at Raleigh's Falls Lake are off limits to swimmers because of elevated levels of bacteria in water that can cause infections and lead to diarrhea.

Wake County Environmental Services closed Beaverdam and Sandling beaches Tuesday after routine tests showed levels of enterococci that exceed 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. The following amounts were found:

Beaverdam Beach East 88.2 cfu
Beaverdam Beach West 135.4 cfu
Sandling Beach North 72.8 cfu
Sandling Beach South 108.6 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.

"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."

The lake is still open to fishing, and other swimming areas at Falls Lake remain open.

Sandling Beach was also closed for several days in May for the same reason, and Beaverdam Beach was previously closed as recently as June 29 and had reopened July 2.