Websites warn people of water conditions
WCLO's Stan Stricker reports on Rock County Health Department's website outlining e-coli tests of popular swimming spots
JANESVILLE Next time you swim at Lions Beach, you might want to check the water conditions online.
The most recent water sample at Lions Beach had elevated levels of bacteria, but you wouldn’t have known that without clicking on a beach sampling website.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Rock County Health Department have beach sampling websites to inform people about the safety of area beaches and waterways.
Rock County beach and surface water samples are taken from May through September, according to the health department. They are tested for E. coli at the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene.
The health department tests water bodies with the highest chance for human exposure on a weekly basis, according to the health department. Areas where swimming is prohibited such as boat launches are tested less frequently.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that licensed beaches with high E. coli samples are required to close.
Health officials also warn people and their pets to avoid contact with water during algae blooms because certain algae contain toxins that make people sick.
At Lions Beach, the water is still safe to swim in, but people should swim at their own risk. They also should not ingest water; they should shower after swimming, and they should not swim if they’re sick.