With all the news surrounding beach closings and swim advisories in recent years, it’s easy to become concerned about local lakes and knowing which ones are safe to go swimming in.
It’s been a hot summer so far and many have been heading to local beaches to cool off. But before you make that trip to one of the many fine local beaches in the area, be sure to check and see if there is any current algae/bacteria advisory or beach-closing notices.
Generally, most beaches are open every day of the summer and are deemed OK to swim in, but each summer there are a handful of beaches that end up on the weekly advisory list.
Testing and monitoring of Ohio’s public beaches is done in a cooperative effort with the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and local health departments, according to “the Bathing Beach Monitoring Program,” which oversees Ohio’s beaches.
Here’s how it works. Water samples are collected at the beaches and tested. The results are then reported to the public. If the water sample results from a lake are greater than the recreational standards that have been set, an advisory is posted to warn swimmers of the risk of illness.
When an advisory is posted it will remain posted until a follow-up sample result is acceptable.
This monitoring system is called the “Beach Guard system” and it allows all local beach managers to post their real-time beach monitoring results and notifications online, which then allows the public to view any beach advisories that might be in place.
The 3 levels of Beach Advisories
According to the “Bathing Beach Monitoring Program” and “Beach Guard,” beach advisories fall into three separate categories: yellow, orange and red.
BeachGuard – Yellow Flag
This is posted when the level of bad bacteria in the water has reached unsafe levels and could make you sick. Children, the elderly and those in ill health or with weakened immune systems are advised not to swim.
BeachGuard – Orange Flag
WARNING – An algal bloom is present and/or algal toxins have been detected. Swimming and wading are not recommended for: children, pregnant or nursing women, those with certain medical conditions and pets. For more information go to www.ohioalgaeinfo.com or call 1-866-644-6224
BeachGuard – Red Flag
DANGER – Avoid all contact with the water. Algal toxins at unsafe levels have been detected. For more information go to www.ohioalgaeinfo.com or call 1-866-644-6224
Additionally, posted at the actual beaches are signs, with color photos and information depicting which type of waters are safe and which are not safe to swim in.
If you have any questions about a specific beach it is recommended you call the beach or park office directly.
Beach Monitoring Hotlines and Websites
• Toll-free Beach info line: 1-866-OHIO BCH (1-866-644-6224)
• Google “beachguard Ohio” and use BeachGuard to check current advisories and sign up for alert notifications.
The Bathing Beach Monitoring Program
• General information: 614-644-7464
Area Public Beaches
Believe it or not, Ohio has over 150 public swimming beaches with over 70 on Lake Erie alone and nearly all of Ohio’s 70 state parks have swimming beaches. This doesn’t even includes private/pay beaches at resort-type venues or the numerous beaches at private campgrounds throughout the state.
Here is a list of some popular local beaches at nearby public lakes:
Kiser Lake Beach
Buck Creek Beach
Indian Lake Old Field Beach
Indian Lake Fox Island Beach
Indian Lake Campground Beach
Grand Lake Camp Beach
Grand Lake Main East Beach
Grand Lake Main West Beach
Grand Lake Windy Point Beach
Lake Loramie Beach
Current Ohio Beach Advisories are listed below:
ROCKY FORK – SOUTH – (Yellow Flag) Rocky Fork Lake Highland County
BUCKEYE LAKE – CRYSTAL BEACH – (Yellow Flag) Buckeye Lake Fairfield County
GRAND LAKE ST. MARYS – CAMP- (Red Flag) Grand Lake Auglaize County GRAND LAKE ST. MARYS – MAIN EAST-(Red Flag) Grand Lake Auglaize County GRAND LAKE ST. MARYS – MAIN WEST-(Red Flag) Grand Lake Auglaize County GRAND LAKE ST. MARYS – WINDY POINT-(Red Flag) Grand Lake Auglaize County IZAAK WALTON LEAGUE LOVELAND- (Yellow Flag) Little Miami River Clermont County SAWMILL CREEK- (Yellow Flag)
Lake Erie Erie County SIMS BEACH – (Yellow Flag) Lake Erie Cuyahoga County MAUMEE BAY STATE PARK (INLAND) – (Yellow Flag) Lake Erie Lucas County EDGEWATER STATE PARK- (Yellow Flag) Lake Erie Cuyahoga County WYOGA LAKE- (Yellow Flag) Wyoga Lake Summit County BAY VIEW WEST- (Yellow Flag) Lake Erie Erie County HEADLANDS STATE PARK- (Yellow Flag) Lake Erie Lake County CRYSTAL LAKE CLUB Crystal Lake- (Yellow Flag) Summit County VILLA ANGELA STATE PARK- (Yellow Flag) Lake Erie Cuyahoga County
COLUMBIA PARK BEACH – (Yellow Flag) Lake Erie Cuyahoga County
CAMP PERRY – (Yellow Flag) Lake Erie Ottawa County CLIFTON BEACH – (Yellow Flag) Lake Erie Cuyahoga County
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.