What Is Causing High E. Coli Levels In Lake Wildwood?

LAKE WILDWOOD (CBS13) — Six children have now been infected with E. coli in Nevada County, and four have been hospitalized.

This development comes after reports of contamination at Lake Wildwood where the Main Beach remains shut down.

E. coli is a bacteria that can cause diarrhea, dehydration, even kidney failure.

County health officials say Lake Wildwood had a similar incident back in 2009.

“That’s kinda shocking I think,” said Sylvester Robinson.

Robinson lives near the Nevada County lake. He says he’s there every week visiting friends.

“I was standing in Lake Wildwood waist deep on July 4 watching the fireworks show,” said Robinson.

Robinson’s not so sure he wants to get back in the lake.

“It has to be a large exit or a large leakage somewhere,” said Robinson.

Nevada County officials are saying that’s not it.

“Nevada County Department of Public Works has done analysis on our wastewater system, we are confident it’s not our system,” said Trish Tillotson.

Environmental health sampled the water at Main Beach found E. coli levels exceeding more than twice the limit that would force officials to shut the beach down.

What could have caused elevated levels of E. coli in Lake Wildwood?

“There’s geese; there are deer, turkey. We are suspecting its feces from those animals,” Tillotson said.

Tillotson is with the Nevada County Public Works. She says Deer Creek flows directly into the lake.

The creek is frequented by wildlife, and she says it’s possible for feces to cause E. coli contamination in water.

CBS13 spoke to Lake Wildwood’s general manager off camera on Monday. He says his facilities management team samples the water every week for elevated levels of bacteria.

County health officials say they’ll be testing other beaches at Lake Wildwood for the bacteria. Meanwhile, advisory signs have been posted as a precaution.

Robinson says he’s no longer a prospective buyer.

“People buy homes for that environment, and you buy the home for the lake, Lake Wildwood,” he said.

There’s no estimated time for when Main Beach will reopen. County health officials say they’re just waiting for E. coli levels to go down.

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