KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The hottest day of the year calls for some relief; some shade, maybe some air conditioning, or perhaps a dip in a nearby lake. Not so fast though: your favorite local swimming hole may have more than just fun in store.
Several beaches have closed over the last couple of weeks because of E. coli or toxic algae.
Juanita Beach has been closed since last Thursday. Officials had hoped to open the beach back up Monday, but more testing needed to be done.
For some people, the 'beach closed' signs were missed.
Kirstin Sangder and her sister thought today would be the perfect day to enjoy Juanita Beach. That is until we showed her the signs: “Beach closed. High bacteria levels. Do not swim, do not wade.”
Kirstin lives nearby and likes coming to this beach because it is convenient. This is the second time though in as many years that the beach has had to close because of high E. coli levels.
“That doesn’t seem very safe,” she said.
Officials say the levels could be from duck and geese using the lake as a bathroom. The possibility of her 1-year-old son getting sick was a risk Kirstin wasn’t willing to take.
“He’s so young and his immune system isn’t as strong, I don’t want him to get sick—and who knows what could happen?”
Juanita Beach is not the only one dealing with unsafe water either. Pomeroy Park- Manchester Beach Park was closed over Memorial Day weekend. The Kitsap Public Health District issued a health advisory warning, saying that fecal bacteria levels in the water were more than what is safe.
When E. coli is found in the water, health officials say swimming may cause gastrointestinal issues, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections, among other illnesses; they add that children and elderly people are at higher risk.
Lake Burien is dealing with toxic algae issues right now. They tested at the end of May, and the beach is still closed because officials say the algae bloom is unsafe for people and dogs to be swimming.
Just last month, a dog went into Anderson Lake in Jefferson County and its owners say it died after ingesting toxic algae.
It isn’t just lakes we should be cautious of this time of year. Even though the temperatures are up, the official start of summer is still more than a week away, and rivers in our area are still extremely cold.
Or you err on the side of caution altogether like Kirstin, and opt for a hot, sticky playground day instead,
"See if they want to rinse them off and maybe play on the playground.”
Click here to check your swimming beach for closures and advisories as well as learn about bacteria levels at tested beaches throughout the swimming season.