Water advisory continues for E. coli contamination at Caesar Creek

A water advisory that has lasted for about three days has been issued at Caesar Creek Lake in Harveysburg for an E. coli contamination.

The advisory was initially issued after samples were taken on Monday at 8 a.m. at the beach at Caesar Creek Lake, according to the Ohio Health Department. The samples showed a result of 3840 cfu/100 ml, or colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water.

That value exceeds the Ohio Water Quality recommendations for public beaches of 235 colonies of E. coli per 100 milliliters of water.

The water quality is monitored throughout swim season for algae and bacteria from May through September. In 2016, Caesar Creek had two advisories — one that lasted a week and another that lasted only two days. In the past five years, the longest contamination advisory was back in 2013, which lasted 27 days. That advisory was for high bacteria levels, and the pollution source was unknown.

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Matt Eistelstein, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said the department took additional sampling on Wednesday at the lake, when they typically take sampling every two weeks. Results will come back today. The department will continue to test as long as levels are elevated.

“Whenever we have an elevated sampling, we take it right away, because a lot of times E. coli moves very quickly and dissipates very quickly. The tests can come back well below levels within a day or two.”

Eistelstein said the department only samples during prime swim season, and will start testing earlier if the weather is unseasonably warm before May. The department did not start testing until this week.

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E. coli in the water can be caused by various issues, he said. A flock of geese could visit the shore and leave feces that are washed into the water by heavy rain. A nearby faulty septic system or fresh manure that is swept into the water by a storm could also cause a contamination.

Health officials recommend that swimmers always rinse off their bodies after swimming in a natural environment like lakes or rivers, and they should never ingest the water.

The Warren County Combined Health District has not received any reports of illnesses caused by the contamination at Caesar Creek Lake. If a swimmer believes they have contracted E. coli, they should consult their physician.

Caesar Creek features a 1,300-foot public beach, and swimming is permitted during daylight hours only. The lake is about 2,830 acres in total, and has four launch ramps for boating around the lake. In April 2016, the marina opened, which has a harbormaster and both leased and transient docks.

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