Local News

Falls Lake beach closes due to bacteria

Posted July 21, 2009 2:55 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2009 3:10 p.m. EDT

— Beaverdam Beach at Raleigh's Falls Lake is off limits to swimmers once again because of elevated levels of bacteria in the water.

Wake County Environmental Services closed Beaverdam Beach on Tuesday. Routine tests 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, test 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.

"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.

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