Swimmers are being warned about high levels of E. coli bacteria at two Ashland beaches following Monday’s storms that dumped another downpour on the Northland.
Ashland Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hudson Tuesday said advisories were posted Tuesday at Kreher Park Beach and the Sixth Avenue Beach. Water-quality advisories are issued when testing shows that the water contains more than 235 colony-forming units of bacteria per 100 milliliters of water. Test results Tuesday showed Kreher Park was the more highly elevated of the two at 800 units, while the Sixth Street beach tested at 500 units. Beach closures result after the level reaches 1,000 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters of water.
The city’s other two beaches, Maslowski Park Beach and Bayview Beach, were not included in the advisory.
Ingesting E. coli bacteria can cause sickness with symptoms ranging from diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. Most adults recover from infection within a week, but children and the elderly who are exposed to it can develop life-threatening kidney failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Hudson said the elevated E. coli levels were not the result of any wastewater overflows at the city’s wastewater treatment facility and more likely were caused by rain that washed seagull and other animal waste into the bay. She said E coli in the city’s storm drains could also have contributed to the problem.
“This is a fairly common event in the summer, when the warm weather encourages bacterial growth,” she said.