WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Board of Health notified Silver Lake beachgoers on July 31 that swimming in Silver Lake was prohibited since the weekly E.Coli test returned exceeding levels of bacteria in the lake.
Their website explains that “a beach will be closed if the bacteria test exceeds either of these limits: 235 E.Coli/100 ml. of water in a single sample, or a geometric mean of 126 in the last five consecutive samples.”
According to the website’s measurements, on July 31 the E.Coli test reported 270 and 720 E.Coli/100 ml. of water, with samples taken from town beach center and town beach right respectively. The next week’s test came back with 250 and 250 E.Coli/100 ml. of water. Finally, the test from Aug. 5 returned a passing bacteria test, but the geometric mean from the previous consecutive samples failed to meet the standard.
Director Shelley Newhouse explained that the E.Coli bacteria could be from human or animal waste, but it’s more likely animal waste.
“It’s probably from geese or other birds,” she said. “We have a family of geese living near the lake.”
While the lake being closed for heightened bacteria levels is rare for Wilmington, it’s not uncommon for other fresh water beach and marine waters all over the state, especially after the hot and dry weather we’ve been having.
What the water needs for the bacteria levels to go back down is a few days of rain, Newhouse continued. Until the E.Coli goes down and a passing result comes in consistently, she says it’s just a waiting game.
Director of the Recreation Department Karen Campbell maintains that while swimming remains prohibited in to this week due to the elevated E.Coli bacteria levels mean geometric reading, the town beach itself is still open for visitors.