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Non-Profit Advises: Call Iowa DNR Before Swimming

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CORALVILLE LAKE, Iowa — Call the Iowa DNR before you swim.

That’s what non-profit Citizens for a Healthy Iowa wants you to do before hopping in an Iowa lake this weekend.

The DNR reports swimming is not recommended at five beaches in the state because E. coli levels are too high. One of those is Backbone Beach near Dundee.

DNR officials said swimming in those lakes give children, elderly or those with weak immune systems an increased risk of getting sick. Diarrhea, skin, ear, or respiratory infections are possible.

E. coli isn’t the cause though, just a sign that pathogens from animals, stormwater runoff, and other sources could be in the lake.

“E. coli bacteria are naturally occurring bacteria in the environment. In large enough levels it is an indicator that there could be a problem,” said Joe Wilkinson, Iowa DNR information specialist. “We’re not trying to scare people away. We’re just trying to say make intelligent choices.”

The Iowa DNR’s Beach Monitoring Hotline is (319) 353-2613.

l Comments: (319) 368-8610;

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