E. coli Closes Lake Minnetonka Beaches

E. coli was detected at Lake Minnetonka beaches, including Excelsior Commons Beach and Nocomo Beach in Deephaven.  The beaches were closed on Monday, August 1st after Hennepin County Public Health detected the bacteria during routine testing.

In July, three swimmers contracted E. coli from water near Big Island in Lake Minnetonka over the July 4th weekend.  State health officials issued summer health warnings for Lake Minnetonka swimmers.  One of the three swimmers were hospitalized, but all three have recovered, according to the state health department.

E. coli is a bacteria that can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps.  Symptoms can appear within two to five days after swimming in contaminated water.  The bacteria normally lives in the small intestines of animals and humans.  A small amount of waste from animals or humans can introduce the bacteria into a body of water.  Swallowing a small amount of E. coli tainted water can produce an infection.

The source of the E. coli bacteria in Lake Minnetonka is unknown, but contamination can occur through animal droppings, sick swimmers, improper disposal of boat waste and other sources.

Health officials offered the following precautions:

  • Do not swallow lake water
  • Shower with soap before and after swimming
  • Do not swim if you have diarrhea
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after you swim
  • Make sure children have frequent bathroom breaks and change diapers in a bathroom and not on the beach

To check to see if a beach is safe for swimming, visit https://www.hennepin.us/beaches for an up-to-date list.

Donna Azarian