E. coli forces Minneapolis to close Calhoun, Hiawatha beaches


The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has closed two beaches in the city, one at Lake Hiawatha and the other at the south end of Lake Calhoun.

The Southwest Patch reports that while the beach is closed at 32nd Street, Calhoun's other two beaches on the north side of the lake remain open.

The Star Tribune says beaches at both Hiawatha and Calhoun were closed Tuesday, and will remain so until E. coli levels are below state and federal guidelines.

The Park Board has a web site here with the latest on E. coli levels and water temps at all the beaches the MPRB oversees. It appears as though water at city beaches is tested weekly.

E. coli is measured in "colony forming units," or CFUs, per 100 ml of water, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The Park Board site says the state trigger for closures is 1,260. The Calhoun beach measured at 2,203 on Monday; Hiawatha is at 993, but has exceeded a mean of 126.

On the bright side, the water's warm! Temps at both beaches are more than 77 degrees.

Officials tells the Strib high levels are most often from waterfowl and pet wastes in yards, streets and parks that wash into lakes either directly or from storm sewers.

On Tuesday, E. coli forced the city of Lakeville to shut down a beach, and last week, swimmers at Big Island on Lake Minnetonka were infected.

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High levels of E. coli close Minneapolis beach

Theodore Wirth Lake Beach in Minneapolis has been closed temporarily after it tested positive for E. coli bacteria that exceeded state guidelines. The rise in bacteria levels is likely caused by more birds at the lake since the start of migration season. No illnesses have been reported. The lake will be re-tested Wednesday.