Carroll County beaches still closed over E. coli levels
By Samantha Jones
Lake Leatherwood City Park's swim beach could reopen soon.
Parks office manager Dove Bolerjack said a sample taken July 1 showed low levels of E. coli. That's the first of two samples needed to show it is safe to swim at the beach, Bolerjack said. Tom Jones, senior environmental health specialist with the Arkansas Department of Health, said the sample came in at 36.4 E. coli per 100 milliliters. For the beach to reopen, Jones said, he needs to see two consecutive tests with E. coli levels less than 127.
The City of Beaver Beach in Carroll County is also closed, Jones said, and it looked like it would reopen soon until the latest test results came in. The first sample taken on June 27 came in at 54.6 E. coli, Jones said, but the second sample didn't fare so well. It came in at 410.6 E. coli, Jones said, more than three times the safe amount.
"They need to send in a sample on Tuesday and Wednesday, and we'll see something by Friday," Jones said. "We'll know if we need to start again on Monday."
The reason Beaver Beach has had so many problems with E. coli, Jones said, is the recent rainstorms in Carroll County.
"This is a downstream beach on the White River from Beaver Lake," Jones said. "When Beaver Lake does a large discharge through Beaver Dam, it creates a lot of flow toward Table Rock Lake."
The city of Beaver is between Beaver Dam and Table Rock Lake, Jones said, so the waters there get a big flush of floodwater.
"It brings things up from who knows where that's been sitting there dormant, like E. coli," Jones said. "That's why we're having a problem at Beaver."
Lake Leatherwood's problem, Jones said, has everything to do with the Canadian geese population. Jones said the geese track their feces into the water, raising the E. coli levels. He suggested the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission consider installing coyote decoys or solar owls to scare off the geese.
"That's your two best deterrents," Jones said.