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City of Elk River Policy Regarding Water Quality Testing at Orono Beach

During the swimming season, the City of Elk River monitors Lake Orono for potential health risks. It does this by testing for fecal coliform. Fecal coliform is only an indicator of health risk. The higher the fecal count the higher the potential the water also contains pathogens that can cause illness in people, if ingested. Fecal in the water may be of animal origin, which does not necessarily relate to a human health risk. It is also important to note that there is the potential to get sick if lake water is swallowed, even with a low fecal count.

Typically, illness caused by water borne pathogens includes symptoms such as fever and diarrhea. The most susceptible are the very old and the very young, due to dehydration. If you suspect such an illness contact your physician and report it to the City of Elk River (763) 635-1000.

Testing Frequency

The beach is to be tested twice per week by taking 3 samples each time for a total of 6 samples per week in a 30-day period.

If fecal coliform bacteria counts remain below 200 per 100 mL of water in a 30-day period and no one sample exceeds 1,000 fecal coliform bacteria colonies per 100 mL of water the beach is not posted.

If fecal coliform counts are above 200 per 100 mL of water in a 30-day period or one sample exceeds 1,000 fecal coliform bacteria colonies per 100 mL of water the beach is posted.

Standard for Posting Warning

If the geometric mean of the fecal coliform count of the six samples exceeds 200, signage shall be posted at the beach stating, "Caution-Impaired Water Quality-Potential Health Risk if Swallowed." Daily sampling (Monday - Friday) will be conducted until the geometric mean drops below the limit, at which time the caution signs shall be removed.
  • Beach Posting Procedure: Park & Recreation Department places signs at Orono Beach and public access
  • Elk River Police Department is notified
  • Lake Orono Improvement Association is notified and they perform a calling tree to lake owners
  • Information is posted on City website at www.ElkRiverMN.gov and the Lake Orono Improvement Association website at www.lakeorono.org
  • Sherburne County Public Health Department is contacted (763.241.2750)
  • Councilmembers and City Administrator is informed

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