ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP – Health officials have issued a bacterial contamination alert for two of Ashtabula County’s most popular beaches.
The Ohio Department of Health reports that Lake Shore Park and Conneaut Sandbar Beach are two of twelve public beaches in Ohio that are the subject of a contamination advisory.
Mother Nature doesn’t look too fondly on Memorial Day weekend, with rain and wind expected Saturday and Sunday, with highs in the 50s and 60s. Forecasters say Monday is shaping up to be better with a maximum of 71 degrees and a mix of sun and cloud, according to www.weather.com.
Bathers may flock to the beaches this weekend, but the water temperature in Lake Erie is a bit chilly for a 60-degree swim, according to www.surf-forecast.com.
“If there is a notice, our lifeguards notify people when they come to our beach,” said Peggy Davis, administrative assistant at the Ashtabula Park Commission. “It happens when we have a lot of storms and storm surges. ”
During the swimming season, the ODH tests the water weekly, with the most recent test being carried out at both parks on Tuesday, according to the ODH website.
E. coli can be caused by overflowing sewers, geese and gull droppings, and failing household septic systems. The bacteria can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps if digested.
Children, the elderly, and people with poor health or weakened immune systems are not recommended to swim.
ODH is issuing advisories, but officials say all beaches are open.
Lake Shore Park is unique in that it is bowl-shaped and spills from sewage treatment plants, State Road runoff, pet waste from neighborhood yards, Canada goose guano and many other sources of pollution increase the levels of pathogenic bacteria in beach water, according to the 2019 Natural Resources Defense Council report.
The park offers more than a swimming area. There are covered pavilions, a new play area, rockery, picnic tables, ducks, peacocks, swans, a boat launch, public toilets and well-maintained grounds.
Area residents can check bacteria alerts and warnings for all Ohio beaches on the Ohio Department of Health website: www.odh.ohio.gov/