Beaches in Ohio to vacation
More than two dozen beaches across Ohio - most of them on Lake Erie - are contaminated with E. coli, ranking the state among the most-polluted in the nation. As of Wednesday afternoon, 28 of Ohio's 134 public beaches were under bacteria advisories, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Twenty-one of the beaches are at Lake Erie. In central Ohio, beaches at Buckeye Lake and Delaware Lake also had elevated E. coli levels.
More than two dozen beaches across Ohio most of them on Lake Erie are contaminated with E. coli, ranking the state among the most-polluted in the nation.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 28 of Ohios 134 public beaches were under bacteria advisories, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Twenty-one of the beaches are at Lake Erie. In central Ohio, beaches at Buckeye Lake and Delaware Lake also had elevated E. coli levels.
A 2014 study by the advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council ranked Ohio worst among the 30 coastal and Great Lakes states for the second year in a row. In July, bacteria warnings affected as many as 30 beaches across the state.
Whether youre the worst in the country or third or fourth worst, there is clearly a problem, said Josh Mogerman, a spokesman for the defense council. Weve got a lot of bacteria in the water."
Advisories are issued in Ohio when E. coli levels pass 235 colonies per 100 milliliters of water, a threshold set by the federal government. Water-quality advisories are posted on the beaches. The signs say children, elderly people and people in ill health should not get in the water. Other states, including Illinois, Vermont and Missouri, typically close beaches when E. coli levels pass 235 colonies per 100 milliliters of water.
Sewage overflows, failing home-septic systems and feces from geese and gulls contribute to E. coli problems. If ingested, the bacteria can cause gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. The bacteria in Lake Erie come largely from untreated human waste, said Kristy Meyer, managing director of clean-water programs with the advocacy group Ohio Environmental Council.
The areas wastewater treatment plants cant handle overflows during huge rainstorms, she said. We have antiquated infrastructure in Ohio.
Jill Bauer, spokeswoman for the tourism group Lake Erie Shores & Islands, said she doesnt expect the advisories to keep the more than 7?million annual visitors from the water.
But Meyer said they should.
Ohio puts out these beach advisories, and I dont think everyone knows about them, she said. If were really trying to protect human health, there should be beach closures.
The state wont do that, said Mary Clifton, recreational programs administrator at the state Health Department.
As far as state beaches, we feel its more important to advise the public and let the public make the decision for themselves, she said.
On May 27, E. coli levels at two Buckeye Lake beaches Brooks and Crystal were off the charts. Officials recorded more than 10, 000 colonies per 100 milliliters of water at both sites.
Meyer said agricultural runoff animal manure is to blame there.
Were talking about things that arent new to these areas; they have legacy problems, said Matt Eiselstein, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
He said the agency is working to limit bacteria levels at the beaches by dredging and by controlling geese populations.
Mogerman said climate change will make the job more difficult.
The state needs to be aggressive in dealing with a lot of these issues; otherwise, were going to see bigger and bigger problems, he said.
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The beaches with the highest levels of E. coli are:
BEACH – COUNTY - E. COLI LEVEL
Buckeye Lake/Crystal Beach – Fairfield - 4, 700
Lake Erie/Villa Angela State Park - Cuyahoga - 3, 973
Buckeye Lake/Brooks - Fairfield - 2, 300
Lake Erie/Sims Beach - Cuyahoga - 980
Lake Erie/Euclid State Park - Cuyahoga - 775
Mosquito - Trumbull - 727
Lake Erie/Veterans Beach Lorain - 727
Lake Erie/Lions Park - Erie - 687
Lake Erie/Noble Beach - Cuyahoga - 553
Lake Erie/Lakeview Beach - Lorain - 548
> Find more information about beach warnings at the Ohio Department of Health* * *