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Bassers midway through season after Balsam Lake tournament
Local youth fishing event brings lots of fun
Gypsy Moth aerial treatments to resume
A and E firm hired for new highway facility
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Bass Tournament in full swing
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The unending battle over trail use
Locals plan to open taproom
City dog park now open
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New membership campaign coming soon
Weaving driver reported; man charged with OWI –3
Traffic access in business corridor discussed
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County Testing Closes Balsam Lake and Half Moon Swimming Beach
The Polk County Health Department has closed Balsam Lake Beach and Half Moon Lake Beach due to high levels of Fecal Coliform Bacteria. High levels have been confirmed in conclusive water tests done June 14, 2017, and June 21, 2017. The beach will be closed until two consecutive tests resulting in acceptable levels are obtained. Wisconsin State Statute, 254.46, gives local health departments the authority to restrict swimming if a human health hazard exists.
The testing consists of sampling for fecal coliform bacteria, an indicator of human and animal waste contamination. Current test methods cannot detect all pathogens (disease-causing organisms) or give instantaneous results. Testing requires 24 to 48 hours of incubation before problems can be detected, leaving ample time for exposure to occur. Current analytical methods do not distinguish between human and animal waste contamination.
Swimming in unsafe water may result in minor illnesses such as ear, eye, nose and throat infections, the most common being gastroenteritis (upset stomach). Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of getting sick when they come in contact with contaminated water.
The Polk County Health Department recommends swimmers take caution when swimming at any beach, especially after heavy rains. Bacteria counts usually rise after a rainstorm at all beaches. The most frequent sources of disease-causing microorganisms are waterfowl fecal contamination, sewage overflows, polluted city or agricultural storm water runoff, sewage treatment plant malfunctions, boating wastes and malfunctioning septic systems.
If you are concerned about “swimmer’s itch”, a type of dermatitis causing a rash and itching, swimmers should rub off with a rough towel before the water film dries on the skin surface. An immediate fresh shower after leaving the water is also effective.
For more information about swimming beach monitoring and safety, you can call the Polk County Health Department at 485-8532 or try the BEACH Watch Website at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches/.