Status of Bacterial Levels for Beach Recreational Use
Updated 5 September 2019
Frequently Asked Questions
When can we swim in the creeks and the lake?
Bacteria levels may fluctuate from day to day. When collected samples exceed E. coli limits, the public health standard requires that the previous four weeks be averaged with the current readings to monitor long term trends. If the five week average and/or geometric mean is above the action level, the beach is posted with a sign notifying the public of high bacerial levels in the swimming area. When both the five week average and geometric mean fall below the action level, the notices signs are removed.
Other visitors are swimming even though a notice sign is posted. Is it safe?
Where are the samples taken and where are the notices posted?
Why does Chickasaw National Recreation Area test for E. coli?
How often do the elevated levels of E. coli occur?
How long is the monitoring period? Do you test year round?
What are the sources of E. coli?
E. coli bacteria naturally occur in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and many other warm blooded animals. These bacteria aid in the digestion process and usually cause no harm. However, their presence in a water system is an indicator that other potential disease-causing pathogens may be present. Certain diseased animals may pass along these pathogens in their fecal waste products.
A few of the sources of E. coli contamination include: Domestic animal and wildlife waste, sewer overflows, seepage from septic systems, and runoff from surrounding streets and agricultural facilities. In addition, other human influences such as infants entering the water in diapers, or the over crowding of a given swimming area can lead to elevated bacterial levels.
Children, pregnant women, and elderly persons are the most susceptible. Contact your primary health care provider.
For more information
An informational letter is available upon request. Please send name and mailing address to Chickasaw National Recreation Area, 901 West 1st Street, Sulphur, OK 73086.
Last updated: September 5, 2019