Bacteria closes skiing, tubing at Lake Wheeler

enovak@newsobserver.comJune 24, 2014 

— Recreational skiing and tubing areas in Lake Wheeler were closed Tuesday after Wake County officials found elevated levels of bacteria in the water.

The county takes samples weekly from lakes during the summer to ensure that bacterial levels have not surpassed standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The standards set acceptable levels of enterococci bacteria at 61 colony forming units, or cfu, per 100 milliliter. At Lake Wheeler, 116.4 cfu were found, prompting a shutdown of “primary contact recreation,” which includes activities where someone’s head or body goes under water.

“We want to ensure people don’t come in contact with high levels of bacteria that could result in illness,” county environmental health specialist Kathryn Hobby said. “After we observe two consecutive days of acceptable bacteria levels, the areas will be reopened for swimming.”

The county closed some swimming areas in Falls Lake last week due to high bacteria levels, but they have since reopened.

Activities that don’t involve being submerged in the water may continue at Lake Wheeler, including kayaking, sailing and canoeing. To find out what lakes are open to swimming, visit www.wakegov.com/water/recreational or email beaches@wakegov.com.

Novak 919-836-5768

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