Grand Lake's Bernice State Park swim area to remain closed until Tuesday for bacteria levels

BERNICE, Okla. - Bacteria levels at Grand Lake's Bernice State Park remain elevated and the swim area will remain closed through at least Tuesday, according to the Grand River Dam Authority.

Earlier this week, water samples tested positive for E. coli and Enterococci.  Prior to the sampling, two families reported their children ill after swimming in the area.

According to the GRDA, the most recent water samples show a decline in bacteria levels but as a precaution the area will remain closed.  The situation will be reassessed Tuesday when results from weekend water testing are available.

“What is important for the public to know is that water testing results confirm that these are isolated areas of concern," said GRDA spokesman Justin Alberty.  "Grand Lake is large, with plenty of other locations for swimming and access. As always, we encourage the public to practice common sense and follow safe practices when swimming.”

Those safe practices include several swimming tips from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ):

  • Hold nose or wear nose plugs when jumping into the water.
  • Wash open skin cuts and scrapes with clean soap and water immediately after swimming.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming.
  • Wear ear plugs to prevent ear infections.
  • Wear swim goggles or masks to prevent eye infections.
  • Avoid swimming near storm drains (pipes that drain polluted water from streets).
  • Take children to the restroom frequently/Use swim diapers on infants.
  • Also, after swimming, always remember to wash hands with soap and water for a full 20 seconds before preparing or eating food.

Biologists regularly test 15 locations of Grand Lake for toxic levels in the water. Find the results at checkmyoklake.com .

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