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Four Minneapolis beaches close due to elevated E. coli levels

What's causing some Minneapolis beaches to close
What's causing some Minneapolis beaches to close 02:11

MINNEAPOLIS — This Fourth of July weekend, many people will be spending time on or in the water. But there are certain spots people will want to avoid in Minneapolis. 

Four beaches in Minneapolis are closed due to high bacteria levels. They include the North beach and 32nd Street Beach at Bde Maka Ska. Lake Harriet's North Beach and Lake Hiawatha Beach are also closed. 

"We were hopeful for nice weather but no luck!" Anousha Jaseb said.

It's not the Fourth of July weather many had hoped for, but the weather wasn't going to stop Jaseb from showing her friends from out of town a good time. They decided to have a picnic on the sand at Bde Maka Ska under the shelter of a tent. 

"That was the initial plan, to swim, be outside. We all have our swimsuits on under our sweaters, but I don't think we'll be going in," she said.

The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board said the increase in bacteria forcing the closures are likely due to recent rain and and high water levels washing E. Coli into city lakes.

"We're going to pump up the boards and get on the lake for as long as we can before the storm starts rolling in," Berta Rooker said.

Rooker and Tim Thorson were hoping to take a dip in Bde Maka Ska but are now choosing their spot carefully. 

"I think we're going to try to paddle board to the south beach if we're going to do any swimming," Thorson said.

Minneapolis Parks offered the following tips for healthy swimming practices:

  • Don't swim if you or your child have diarrhea or are sick. 
  • Be careful to not get lake water in your mouth. 
  • Wash your hands before eating and after changing a diaper. 
  • Avoid swimming for 48 hours after a heavy rainfall, when bacteria levels can be high.  
  • Towel dry immediately after exiting the water to prevent Swimmer's Itch.
  • Do not swim in water that looks like "pea soup" or spilled paint floating on the surface. 
  • Keep children and pets out of blue-green algae scum. 

While there's no reports of any illnesses yet, officials urge people and pets to stay out of the water. The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board routinely monitors water quality. For updated water quality conditions click here.

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