Some public beaches remain closed due to unsafe levels of E. coli bacteria

Updated: July 13, 2019 10:18 PM

Several public beaches in the metro will remain closed through the weekend.

Three of them are in Minneapolis:  Thomas Beach and 32nd Street Beach on Bde Maka Ska and Lake Hiawatha.  The others are Lake McCarrons in Roseville and Excelsior Commons on Lake Minnetonka.


The continued closures are a result of routing testing during swimming season that revealed high levels of the E. coli bacteria which can cause extreme sickness.

Even though signs were posted on bathroom doors and along the beach access at Lake McCarron's, Erika Holmes didn't hesitate to get wet.

"I'm not really too concerned because I haven't heard anything about an outbreak," Holmes said.

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However, Eder Garcia had a different opinion.  He came with his family to a birthday party in the park and intended to take his daughter swimming.  Garcia brought her bathing suit, but as he came across warning signs, they turned around and stayed on dry land.

"I'm just a little concerned. It might not be harmful for most, but just as a precaution," Garcia said.

Shavonna Williams of St. Paul barely stopped her sons in time before they went into the water.  She brought them to the lake to cool off on the sizzling Saturday.  Instead of taking a dip, they ducked under the shade of a towering tree.

"They should have taped off the beach so it would be closed and people would know. They shouldn't be put in jeopardy. They need to know to not get in the water," Wililams said. "The average kid isn't going to read a sign."

The unsafe bacteria levels come from all sorts of human, bird, animal and natural waste in runoff from recent heavy rainfalls, experts say.  The health hazard and beach closures shouldn't be ignored, according to Dr. Adam Heathcote, a scientist with the St. Croix Watershed Research Station and Science Museum.

 "I don't know if [the problem] is necessarily worse or if we are more aware.  We are definitely a lot more vigilant about it now than we have been in the past 30 or 40 years," replied Heathcote.

Heathcote said the state has come a long way in terms of treating contaminated runoff that reaches public beaches. 

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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