Meadow Park Beach to Remain Closed
By Bob Mariani, GM, Lake Wildwood
Yesterday’s we reported that the earlier positive sample for E. coli O157:H7 from the Creek at Meadow Park had been independently confirmed. As a result, more investigation effort was going to be focused on that creek by both the County and CDC.
We felt it prudent to continue the beach closure at Meadow Park while this investigation continues. It is the intent of the Association to keep the community informed as we learn new information. We understand this ongoing challenge is much like a puzzle and it is sometimes difficult to find the proper balance in reporting data when it may have no immediate significance.
This week we were forced to make another difficult decision. First, more sampling was done on the Creek at Meadow Park on Monday at the request of CDC. The samples collected were split and analyzed by both our testing program and CDC. This sampling included collecting creek bed sediment from the location behind the weir at the Meadow Park Bridge and further upstream along our hiking trail.
Both of these sediment samples were positive for E. coli O157:H7. The testing is not able to identify specific genetic strains and we are awaiting results from CDC for an indication if these are the same as caused the outbreak. These new test results reinforced our decision to keep Meadow Park Beach closed and provide more direction to the investigation. Plans for beginning the tracking of possible contamination sources outside of LWW were discussed at a meeting late Thursday afternoon with the County, representatives from other local water agencies, and State Health and CDC (via conference call).
On Wednesday each week the testing program analyzes beach sand samples from along the shoreline of all of our beaches. The sand testing includes analysis for the E. coli O157:H7 strain and none was detected in the beach sand this year until this week. Wednesday’s sand sample from Hideaway Beach, the smaller beach toward the westerly side of the park, was positive for O157:H7. CDC detected the O157:H7 strain found in the Commodore Beach sand at the shoreline after last year’s outbreak. With this week’s findings we are closing the Hideaway Park Beaches.
One final note: the shoreline beach indicator E. coli counts were very high from Wednesday at all of our beaches except Explorer. It is thought the increase in wave action caused by a goose disbursement that day may have promoted a more rapid breakdown and suspension of goose feces deposited near the shoreline. We will keep you updated as we get more information through e-Bits summaries or an e-Blast when more timely notice is needed.
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