Iowa DNR recommends against swimming in several lakes

Iowa (KCRG) – Many Iowans like to escape the midwestern heat by a lake during the summer. But the Iowa DNR tells swimmers to avoid certain lakes, including two in eastern Iowa.

Daniel Kendall, an environmental scientist with Iowa DNR says that currently several lakes in Iowa have swimming advisories due to bacteria levels.

In eastern Iowa, Backbone Lake in Delaware County and Lake Darling in Washington County are under advisory.

“We have published a notice. We want people to exercise caution. When these indicator bacteria become elevated, it means there could be pathogens or viruses present,” Kendall said.

Chris Jones, an IIHR research engineer at the University of Iowa, says these indicator bacteria are usually things like E. coli.

He says one of the main reasons the lakes have these bacteria is because most of the land in Iowa is in some sort of agricultural production, with lots of livestock.

“We have no vegetation on the landscape for much of the year. This therefore gives bacteria the opportunity to move from the soil into our waterways. We’ve saturated our landscape for the most part with the waste from these animals and so our lakes are really vulnerable to contamination from E. coli and other pathogens due to the number of animals we have,” Jones said.

Kendall added that although the lake is not subject to a notice, it is best to wash up after swimming.

He said that now the DNR is working on some projects to examine what the specific sources of contamination might be.

“Let it be something at the beach leads. Like basically just how the beach is designed. Or if it’s something more external,” Kendall said.

You can see which lakes are affected by these advisories by clicking here.

Copyright 2022 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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