Shared from the 6/8/2018 Sandusky Register eEdition


Is the lake safe to swim?


Sanitarian aide Molly Brownell collects water from Lake Erie at Nickel Plate Beach in Huron to test the quality on Wednesday. The health department tests water samples to determine which beaches are safe and clean, relatively free of bacteria.

Register photo/ ERIN McLAUGHLIN


Sanitarian aides Molly Brownell and Hayley Carter take a sample Wednesday from Lake Erie at Beulah Beach in Vermilion.

Register photo/ ERIN McLAUGHLIN


The Erie County Health Department is here to help if you want to go swimming in the lake this summer.

The health department began testing 25 Erie County locations to swim in Lake Erie. It posts the results at the department’s website at

The results let swimmers figure out the beaches that are safe and clean, and relatively free of bacteria.

For example, in the results posted for the beach testing carried out on Monday, nine locations were listed as “advisory,” where swimming is not recommended.

Three locations were listed as “poor,” while five were listed as “fair.” Six beaches, however, were rated as “good.”

Beach testing results for locations outside Erie County are posted at the state’s Beach Guard site at publicapps. However, the state site only makes it easy to figure out which beaches have advisories.

The health department varies how often the 25 locations in Erie County are tested. Some locations are tested five days a week, some three, some two and some just one. Testing is done five days a week at beaches that are considered especially risky or are especially popular.

In addition to the website results, test results are posted at the beach, said Craig Ward, director of environmental health for the Erie County Health Department.

“Signs are posted at most of the area beaches. Some locations like to post their results on their own bulletin boards and clipboards. We currently have signs posted at 17 of the 25 sample locations,” Ward said.

All water samples must be processed and incubated after the samples are taken. The time from collection to posting on the website ranges from 19 to 24 hours, Ward said.

The first tests for Erie County were carried out May 29. As of Wednesday morning, results had been posted for five days of water sampling.

One encouraging result is that water quality so far has been good for the two locations in Bay View, Bay View West and Bay View East, which is also known as the Driftwood Cottages area. On Monday, both locations were rated “good.”

Bay View recently completed a new sewer system, replacing the septic tank systems blamed for providing often poor results when the two beaches were tested.

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