HAMPTON, Iowa – The Labor Day weekend is upon us and a popular past for most is heading to the lake, but you might want to check to see if the water will be safe for swimming.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued a number of “swimming not recommended” warnings for beaches across the state. One of the beaches on that list this summer was Beeds Lake State Park in Hampton, however after some water and beach testing, along with slight changes in temperature and rainfall, that beach is now open for swimming once again.
The issue is that strands of bacteria, like the microorganisms that create blue algae, have been found in some bodies of water, and swimming in these types of conditions can be harmful to your health. But, it’s not just people; dogs and other animals can be impacted by these bacteria as well.
To tackle the growing issue, Citizens for a Healthy Iowa, a group working solve water quality issues throughout the Hawkeye State, has started to reach out and encourage folks to check out lakes online before diving in.
Mike Delaney, the president of the organization, tells us while it might take a little extra time, and could ultimately alter your holiday weekend plans, it’s a smart and simple way to keep everyone safe.
“The water is sampled and the beaches are tested,” Delaney explains, “that way we know what E. coli bacteria levels or microcystin toxins levels are in the water because it’s important to keep your children out of water that is unhealthy.”
Beeds Lake State Park might be a safe place to visit this holiday weekend, but the Iowa DNR has issued a warning for McIntosh Woods State Park in Ventura. Conservation officers say that they won’t necessarily ticket a person for swimming in this spot, but that there could be repercussions if swimmers go against their suggestion.
For more information on beach monitoring you can call the Beach Monitoring Hotline at (319) 353-2613, or visit the Iowa DNR’s Beach Monitoring Website.