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Beaver Lake beaches closed until further notice due to E. coli levels

Beaver Lake Chief Park Ranger says that signs and barricades at the swim beaches will let people know which swim beaches are closed.

ROGERS, Ark. — The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has announced the closing of the Lost Bridge North and Damsite Peninsula beaches on Beaver Lake due to "higher than acceptable E.coli levels."

“We do tests throughout the year. We do one baseline test at the beginning of the year and we do one test before each of the major holidays at all of our swim beaches just to make sure the water is safe to swim in,” said Chief Park Ranger Landon Thurman.

Thurman says fecal contamination typically causes high levels of E. coli in the water.

“We have a lot of geese in the area and so if we do have a rain before a sampling date, sometimes that can wash down into the water. But we do have a lot of animals that live near the lake, deer and everything, so you just never know what may end up in the water,” he said.

Thurman says signs and barricades at the swim beaches will let people know which swim beaches are closed.

Swimming in water with high levels of E. coli can make you sick causing nausea, vomiting, and fever. He says there are a total of 14 swim beaches on beaver lake. The US Army Corps of Engineers only tests the water in the swim beaches, not all around the lake.

“Our designated swim beach areas are where the Corps of Engineers designated where this is a safe area to swim, so those are the only areas we test,” he said.

The Corps says they must get two consecutive tests back that says the water is safe before reopening those swim beaches. They took another water sample Monday (May 22) and will do another Tuesday (May 23) in hopes they will be able to reopen the swim beaches in time for the weekend, but the Arkansas Department of Health will make the final decision.

The swim beach at Horseshoe Bend is also closed because the water is too high.

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