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McIntosh Woods State Park

A swimming advisory has been issued for McIntosh Woods State Park in Cerro Gordo County due to E. coli contamination.

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 20,000 on Monday, July 1.

Swimming is not recommended at McIntosh Woods Beach 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, 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.

Jim Sholly, CLEAR Project coordinator, said sunlight will destroy the bacteria and improve the water quality.

CLEAR Project aims to promote and enhance water quality of Clear Lake in North Iowa.

The swimming advisory is among four issued throughout Iowa after this week’s sampling. Other beaches included are those at Backbone, Green Valley and Pine Lake state parks.

The advisories don’t mean the beach is closed, but anyone swimming in the location should take extra precautions, including showering shortly after swimming and avoiding the 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.

Photos: Clear Lake July 4 parade 2019

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

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