Officials: water samples at acceptable levels after Barren River Lake beaches test positive for E. coli


Officials at Barren River Lake confirmed water samples returned to acceptable levels per EPA water quality standards after testing positive for E. coli earlier this week.

Narrows Campground and Quarry Road Beach were closed until the water tested safe.

Officials said the beaches will remain closed, however, due to recent heavy rains. Narrows Beaver Creek and Quarry Road beaches will be closed until the water recedes.


Barren River Lake Corps of engineers test the water levels of the beach areas set aside for public swimming weekly, but the most recent testing found something that caused the temporary closing of two of those beaches.

Quarry Road Beach along with Narrows Campground Beach are closed until further notice due to high levels of E. coli.

"Those were high in E. coli and that is a naturally occurring bacteria, but once they reach a certain threshold it is not safe to swim in those areas, so we did close those areas just because we are concerned about public safety," said Holly Myers, Park Ranger.

Two beaches, however, are still open to the public.

"Bailey's Point C area is still open for swimming and the Beaver Creek Beach is still open for swimming, those two areas did test safe levels," Myers said.

E. coli found in the water can be from a number of things. Myers says it could be due to the recent weather.

"When you see high levels in the swim areas, it can be that we just had recent rains so runoff can sometimes cause high numbers, you're getting things like animal waste and things like that," she said.

Myers says to remember that swimming in the lake is not the same as swimming in a pool with treated water. "You want to make sure to take all precautions not to drink the water in any way or get it in your mouth if you can avoid that at all, of course, you want to make sure that you take a shower after you get out of the water."

Until further notice, it is a waiting game.

The water will be tested again next week and if the levels are back to normal, the beaches will reopen as soon as possible.

The Barren River Corps of Engineers want people to know that the closing of the beaches is for public safety and precaution and the beaches still open are perfectly safe for swimming.

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