FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE / WYOU-TV) –It was a slow start to the week at Beltzville State Park as water tests came back high, indicating there were higher than normal bacteria levels found in the water.
“The Department of Health sets acceptable levels and we test the beach on a weekly basis and as the test results are returned to us, they tell us ‘yea’ or ‘nay’,” says Alma Holmes, Beltzville State Park Manager.
But what exactly causes these levels to rise enough that it can be harmful to swim?
“One of the big things that causes [high bacteria levels] is rain and runoff into the lake. We do have a lot of farmers’ fields around, we have geese here,” says Holmes.
With an increase in runoff during these rain events, this can affect what ends up flowing into the water.
Holmes adds, “When the vegetative material is either stirred up in the lake or runs off into the lake, it can change the results of the test.”
Now with the news that the beach is reopen to swimmers, Beltzville is happy to announce they are open yet for another busy weekend.
Though, with the good news, some frequent visitors to the park were a little cautious when they set foot into the water.
Karen Graver, a resident of Northampton, has been coming to the lake for many years. “I was a little leary about coming out, but I’ve been coming here since I was little.”
Another lake swimmer, Victoria Martinez, says, “I think since it’s a community lake, I think they know how to take care of it so it should be clean.”
As for the reactions from email and social media that Holmes received this week, many people think it’s due to large crowds causing the bacteria rise.
“The public wants to blame the crowds, but this is a normal response to the environment, ” Holmes says.
She also mentions that if there is any concern to enter the water this weekend, to have no fear. The levels returned are well below any criteria that would make anyone sick.