E. Coli count closes Vancouver Lake to swimmers

Vancouver Lake Regional Park still open, running water on site is safe

Vancouver Lake Park in Vancouver, Wash. (Google Commons)
Vancouver Lake Park in Vancouver, Wash. (Google Commons)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN 6) — Swimmers at Vancouver Lake in Vancouver will have to find another water hole for the time being.

Higher than acceptable levels in the lake of E. Coli, a bacteria that causes stomach problems when ingested, have closed the lake to swimmers and waders, although the Vancouver Lake Regional Park is still open to the public.

Clark County health authorities closed the lake due to the risk of a swimmer or wader accidentally drinking some of the water.

“One of the best ways to reduce the spread of E. coli in swimming areas is to ensure that children stay out of the water if they are not potty trained,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer. “Swim diapers are not reliable. We discourage their use.”

Water in the showers and restrooms does not come from the lake and is safe to drink or bathe in. The lake will stay closed until levels of the bacteria drop below state and federal guidelines.

However, fish caught in the lake are safe to eat, as long as they are cooked thoroughly. Anyone fishing is reminded to clean all equipment and anyone who makes contact with the water is reminded to wash their hands with warm soapy water.

Public Health will test the water daily and post daily results. 

E. Coli fast facts

  • E. Coli is found in the intestines of mammals, and can be found in feces
  • Symptoms of ingestion include fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Symptoms can begin hours, or days after exposure
  • People with bloody diarrhea or persistent gastrointestinal symptoms should call their physician or other healthcare provider
  • Taking antibiotics or over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicines can make some infections worse

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