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Posted on: August 2, 2019

Crooked Lake Water Testing

Crooked Lake water testing

The City of Coon Rapids has begun testing for bacteria at Crooked Lake (13180 Crooked Lake Blvd.) as part of a new initiative to ensure water safety. The City began this new testing program Monday, July 29.

The new water testing is being conducted because:

  • Crooked Lake Park renovations were completed recently and with a new water access area, with sand, the City is committed to ensuring water safety as it relates to E. Coli bacteria.
  • Due to recent incidents of high levels of E. Coli bacteria at other metro-area water access points and beaches, the City decided to monitor bacteria levels at Crooked Lake.

This is the first time the City of Coon Rapids has monitored bacteria levels specifically at Crooked Lake. State law does not require cities to test for E. Coli bacteria. 

If high levels of E. Coli are present, the City will post signs at the lake stating it is closed. Signs will also be visible near the parking lot area if there is a closure. If no closure signs are posted, visitors will know bacteria levels meet the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's standards for recreational water. Information about testing will be available on the City website and will be updated weekly. (www.coonrapidsmn.gov/CrookedLakeWaterTesting)

The first round of test results from July 29 show the water meets the standards for recreational standards. Test results show 10 MPN/100 mL) (approximate number of viable cells per 100 milliliters, MPN stands for Most Probable Number) at the north end of Crooked Lake Beach and 17 MPN/100 mL on the south side of Crooked Lake Beach.  

According to the standards set by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), bacteria levels fall within: Minnesota Rule 7050.0222 Specific Water Quality Standards for Class 2 Waters of the State; Aquatic Life and Recreation: E. coli levels not to exceed 126 organisms per 100 milliliters as a geometric mean of not less than five samples representative of conditions within any calendar month, nor shall more than ten percent of all samples taken during any calendar month individually exceed 1,260 organisms per 100 milliliters. The standard applies only between April 1 and October 31. Geometric means will become available after more testing is complete as time goes on. As the City continues to monitor bacteria levels, determinations will be made as to when single testing levels exceed the standards to close the water access area.

The City will continue testing the water weekly, through Labor Day. In 2020, the City will test the water from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Swimming and wading at Crooked Lake is at your own risk - there is no lifeguard on duty.

What exactly is E. Coli:

E. coli is short for Escherichia coli, the scientific name for a group of bacteria found in the intestines and feces of warm-blooded animals such as mammals and birds. While most of the hundreds of strains of E. coli are harmless (one notable exception associated with food contamination is E. coli O157:H7), their presence can indicate sewage or feces-contaminated water which may include pathogens (disease-causing organisms).

Direct testing for pathogens is expensive and impractical, as pathogens are rarely found because they usually occur sporadically and at low levels. Instead of testing for the pathogens themselves, public agencies test for the presence of "indicator" species, so called because their presence indicates that sewage or fecal contamination may have occurred. The two most commonly used indicators for recreational waters are fecal coliforms and E. coli.


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