Water issues at Guilford Lake clear on new tests

GUILFORD LAKE – The bacteria issues, which had led to safety concerns for swimmers last week at Guilford Lake State Park, have now been cleared up.

New water quality tests performed on Thursday showed the bacterial levels way below the acceptable standards, according to Karl Mattern, assistant manager of the Northeast District of Ohio State Parks. On Friday, the signs warning swimmers of possible unsafe bacteria in the water were removed.

Mattern explained the beaches at both the campground and the main public swimming area are checked on a regular basis. However, the test conducted on Tuesday, July 29 showed a much higher than normal reading for bacteria.

A possible explanation, according to Mattern, was a large rain, which had caused water levels to rise and possibly caused more goose excrement than usual to be in the water instead on the shore of the beach.

As a precaution, the signs were placed at the beach warning those swimming there to be aware of the potential danger, especially small children, the elderly and those already in ill health. The results of the test were also noted on a state website BeachGuard, which posts any contamination issues. Finally, the Guilford Lake State Park website also had a pink box warning swimmers of the possible danger.

Mattern added even after the test, the water was safe for most swimmers and many people continued to swim at the beaches despite the safety warning. The test conducted this Thursday showed a level about six times below the threshold for concern, leaving Mattern with no qualms about the safety of the water.

Besides checking for bacteria, Mattern confirmed the water is also tested for algae and has shown no signs of approaching any high algae toxicity levels. High toxicity levels of algae have caused some issues in Lake Erie and at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park on the western side of Ohio this year.