As we told you on July 3, 2012, some Lake Superior beaches in the Duluth area were closed because of high levels of E. coli bacteria. A few of those beaches are now safe to use, but some remain closed. Flooding in the Duluth area in late June most likely washed bacteria from sewage systems into water around the area.
According to the Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program, the Minnesota Point 15th Street Harbor Side Beach has high bacteria levels, along with Hearding Island Canal Beach/Park Point 20th Street, and the Park Point Sky Harbor Parking Lot Beach. The 42nd Avenue East Beach, and Brighton Beach in East Duluth now have acceptable water.
You can check on the water safety at a beach near you by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s Beach Advisory and Closing On-line Notification. There have been outbreaks from people contracting bacterial infections by swimming in contaminated waters. For instance, just last week there was a norovirus outbreak at Lake Wazee in Wisconsin, and a Cryptosporidium outbreak at two Minnesota water parks in April. And in 2011, an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak in Pennsylvania was caused by an ill swimmer at Cowan’s Gap State Park.