Second 'No Water Contact Advisory' issued for Northland beaches

By KBJR News 1

August 12, 2014 Updated Aug 12, 2014 at 8:52 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- For the second time this summer Duluth's most popular Lake Superior beach, along with four other beaches, are under a no water contact advisory due to unsafe levels of e-coli.

"I come down here usually at least once or twice a week," said local beach goer Ben Ross.

For Ross, heading to the beach during these warm weeks of summer is part of his typical routine.

"You always hear stuff about it but I've never really heard of anyone getting too sick," said Ross.

However, new signs popping up around Duluth beaches are asking people to think twice before taking a dip into Lake Superior.

"When we have an advisory at a beach we keep testing until the bacteria levels come down," said Cindy Hakala of the Minnesota Department of Health.

The Minnesota Department of Health issued an advisory Tuesday urging people to stay out of the water after recent water samples found the presence of fecal contamination.

They believe the main cause of the E. Coli contamination is birds defecating in the water.

They add the recent warm weather followed by the heavy rain on Sunday created more issues.

"All of those things with guts, which is where E. Coli comes from, end up on the beaches and then we had a rainfall event... it rained for quite a while on Sunday night, so anything that was left on the beaches by people who were there, or birds, or the dogs, or anything that didn't get picked up after kind of got washed into the water," said Hakala.

Yet, even with the new advisories, some beach goers don't seem too worried.

"I've lived in Duluth for 20 plus years and I've swam in Lake Superior when there's been multiple E. Coli warnings... I've never once gotten sick from it," said Anthony Buchberger, another local beach goer.

Lifeguards are urging swimmers to rinse off if they choose to dive in - despite the warnings.

Health experts say there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of polluting nearby beaches.

For example, showering before going to the beach, picking up any trash seen in the area, and to change diapers and take your animals to the bathroom as far away from the beach area as possible.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health say they are doing tests of water samples on Tuesday, and will likely have an update on Wednesday as to which beaches are safe for swimming.

Elsa Robins