DNR, local officials watch for ‘elevated risk’ in Iowa’s waters
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Warm weather is finally here, which means trips to the lake for many families, but one swimming spot is already closed.
Sand Lake at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area is closed until further notice due to the levels of E. coli, and swimming is prohibited right now. The advisory from the city of Iowa City is part of a wider effort to keep people safe during the summer.
“There may or may not be organisms that may or may not make them sick,” said Daniel Kendall, Environmental Specialist Senior for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “When the levels are high, it’s an elevated risk.”
The DNR started its monitoring of E. coli and algal blooms on Tuesday. It’s a yearly project carried out in the name of public health. With one spot already closed, TV9 asked if we were looking at what could be an unusual year.
“That’s the one thing that is very difficult is: what to expect?” said Kendall.
What seemed certain, though: when officials do post about elevated levels, the people TV9 spoke with took warnings seriously.
Ruth Koepp, a visitor to Terry Trueblood on Tuesday, said, “The trouble is germs are getting so much smarter—hate to contaminate yourself if you don’t have to.”
At Lake MacBride, swimmers are still allowed in the water, but beachgoers like Sophia Jeromsky and Julia Rosenberger are aware that could change.
“I mean, it’s your health overall. So I feel like, if you see something that says you shouldn’t do it, then maybe think twice before going in, right?” said Jeromsky.
According to Kendall, advisories from the DNR are just that: advice. Whether or not to get into the water is a personal decision.
“It all depends on what level of risk people are willing to take,” said Kendall.
“I would say, like, definitely just check to make sure if like there’s any advisor in your area to, like, be cautious,” said Julia Rosenberger. “But if there’s none, have fun.”
People planning on visiting one of Iowa’s beaches can check conditions on DNR’s website here.
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