The Kosciusko Lakes and Streams center at Grace College has received a $40,100 grant to conduct an E. coli assessment at the public swimming beaches in Warsaw, according to a recent story on StaceyPageOnline, the online news site that serves the Warsaw-Winona Lake area. The grant was awarded by the K21 Health Foundation.
E. coli is a bacteria known to cause digestive problems, urinary tract infections and other illness in humans exposed to high levels. The public swimming beaches at Center and Pike lakes have shown levels of E. coli above the human health threat and beach closure threshold about one-third of the time over the past 15 years, according to data from Kosciusko County Health Department sample collections.
“The goal of the study is to determine the source and cause of the high E. coli levels to better protect county residents from this identified health threat in the future,” said Nate Bosch, Lakes and Streams director.
The center will work collaboratively with the Warsaw Parks and Recreation Department to conduct the project and consider future options to minimize E. coli levels once sources are identified.
“We know that beach closures are a frustration and a concern for the public and we’re anxious to address that challenge with the help of these two groups,” said K21 president, Rich Haddad.
Research will not interfere with public use of the swimming beaches. But as is typical in the summertime, patrons are reminded to keep a lookout for beach closure signs signaling that E. coli levels are too high for swimming.