Safe to swim? No health hazards with high water


With a hot and sticky day forecast for Tuesday, it's a perfect day to seek out a beach. But is the water safe after the heavy rainfall and subsequent runoff?

The Sun Sailor, the community newspaper that serves west metro communities around Lake Minnetonka, reported that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says the popular lake is safe. On June 1, wastewater was discharged into the lake following a massive downpour; the public was advised to keep away from lake water near the discharge points. Those discharge points have been sampled several times and samples have returned to normal bacteria levels.

KSTP reported the Hennepin County Public Health Department tests lake water at 31 beaches every Monday to make sure the water is safe. (The county website indicates all beaches are now safely open. You can check their findings here.) E. coli presents the biggest threat, with unusually warm water, animal droppings, sewage discharge, bacteria from soil, runoff and rainfall creating concern about contamination.

"After the rain, we see fertilizer, all that pollution going into the storm drain ending up at the beach," said Amanda Buell, an environmentalist with Hennepin County.

The Centers for Disease Control suggests waiting 24 hours after a heavy rainfall before swimming and recommends showering after a day at the beach.

It's not health hazards that are keeping boaters off the water. FOX 9 reports high water levels continue to impose no-wake restrictions on all of Lake Minnetonka. Monday's water level was 1.2 inches below the record high 930.66 feet set on June 3, but the lake is not dropping fast enough to allow boaters to cruise the waters.

Kara Owens, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, told the station that several other Minnesota lakes continue with their no wake restrictions.

"Prior Lake down in Scott County is 'no wake,' the St. Croix River is 'no wake,' and the locks and dams are now closed for recreational and commercial traffic," she said, adding that the forecast will determine when the restrictions will be lifted.

Next Up

Byron Buxton

Alex Colomé wastes Buxton's diving catch, clutch bomb

The Twins' bullpen woes continued in a loss to the A's.

Northern Metals

Firefighters battling large blaze at Northern Metal site in Minneapolis

The fire sent a plume of thick smoke into the skyline.

Screen Shot 2021-04-21 at 12.10.00 PM

Charges: St. Cloud woman maced, fatally stabbed man in alley

A 36-year-old man was pronounced dead at St. Cloud Hospital 32 minutes after the 911 call was made.


Gasthof's building in Northeast Minneapolis is for sale

The restaurant opened in 1992 and has been closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


1 dead in single-vehicle crash in Kandiyohi County

Deaths on Minnesota roads are up approximately 20% from the same point last year.

Irwin Jacobs home

Neighbor sues to block estate from dividing billionaire's Lake Minnetonka property

The estate of Irwin Jacobs wants to build six new homes on the late businessman's property.


In the better burger battle, does Culver's trump In-N-Out?

A website says Culver's is far superior to In-N-Out.

George Floyd mural

Darnella Frazier, who filmed the video of Floyd's arrest, reacts to guilty verdict

Frazier's video challenged the initial narrative of Floyd's arrest presented by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Burnsville police shooting

Man fatally shot by police near I-35W in Burnsville is identified

The suspect killed in the incident is from western Wisconsin.