Hennepin County staff have collected water samples from the beach at Nelson Lakeside Park (Long Lake's city beach) twice weekly since the beach was temporarily closed in August. Test results have continued to show that according to the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended water quality standards, the swimming beach's water may pose a health concern to individuals coming into contact with the water.
Hennepin County has recommended that the City of Long Lake beach remain closed due to continued higher bacterial levels than acceptable. As the beach traditionally closes within a week or two following the Labor Day holiday weekend, at this point, the swimming beach will remain closed for the season. Regular water sampling of the beach area will resume when the beach re-opens next spring.
Please read and take note of the "FAQ's" below for more detailed information. Should you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact City staff at 952.473.6961 x1; or Hennepin County Public Health at 612.543.5200.
ALSO, please note that the Hennepin County Public Health Department maintains a web page discussing beach water quality monitoring (text is a link). This site also includes a list of County monitored beaches in our surrounding area and their current status.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the specific affected area?
The closure is specifically associated with the shallow water / beach area. General recreational use (i.e. waterskiing, boating) in the deeper water is allowed, BUT lake users should not ingest any lake water and should wash or shower after getting out of the water. Lake users should also be sure to wash their hands after getting out of the water prior to eating. This is recommended not just for lakes with beach closures - but as a smart practice at all times.
What is the cause of the elevated bacterial level?
Not a pretty answer, but here it is - fecal contamination from humans and animals. Agricultural runoff from horse or other animal farms is also a contributing factor. Nearly all water-borne illnesses are caused by organisms in untreated human and other animal waste introduced to the water directly or via rainstorm runoff. High water temperatures, low water levels, and bathing practices can also be factors in bacterial growth.
How long will the beach be closed?
Hennepin County will be re-sampling our beach water frequently and will continue to provide test results as soon as they become available. The beach will remain closed until water sampling test results are within acceptable limits.
Should I be watching for symptoms if I used the beach just before the closure?
To measure the risk of contracting gastrointestinal illnesses from recreational exposure to beach water, samples are collected and analyzed for Escherichia coli bacteria, a primary indicator organism. The bacteria found in the water sampling is not disease causing itself; but according to EPA standards elevated E. coli bacteria levels are an indicator that there could be the potential for other disease causing bacteria or parasites to be present. Bacteria and viruses in bodies of water can cause some ear and eye infections, stomach aches, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms. To report any water related illnesses, please contact Hennepin County Public Health at 612.543.5200.