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Swimming advisory continues for one North Iowa beach
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Swimming advisory continues for one North Iowa beach

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A swimming advisory remains in effect at the McIntosh Woods State Park beach in Ventura on Friday.

Families looking to enjoy the last weekend of summer by taking a swim are encouraged to use caution at a North Iowa beach due to E. coli levels.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ weekly sampling at McIntosh Woods State Park in Ventura exceeded the one-time sample maximum of 235 E. coli per 100 milliliters of water with a reading of 1,700 Tuesday. The sampling also exceeded the geometric mean standard of 126 E. coli per 100 milliliters of water with a reading of 1,780.46.

Swimming is not recommended at McIntosh Woods on Clear Lake, the DNR’s water quality monitoring site says.

High levels of bacteria are attributed to fecal contamination of beach water from improperly constructed and operated septic systems and sewage treatment plants, manure spills and storm water runoff from land with wildlife and pet droppings.

According to the DNR, surface runoff after a heavy rainfall may transport high levels of fecal bacteria to the water at the beach. It also increases the sediment in the water causing it to be murky. Sunlight destroys the bacteria and improves the water quality.

The swimming advisory is among four issued throughout Iowa after this week’s sampling. Others include beaches at Prairie Rose, Rock Creek and Union Grove state parks.

The advisories don’t mean the beaches are closed, but anyone swimming at the locations should take extra precautions, including showering shortly after swimming and avoiding ingestion of lake water.

A variety of diarrheal diseases and skin, ear and respiratory infections are associated with swimming in contaminated water, the DNR states.

The DNR conducts weekly monitoring of 39 state park beaches for E. coli and microcystin the week prior to Memorial Day through Labor Day.

North Iowa Nine: What's happening in North Iowa (with photos)

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.


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