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Health officials reopen Vancouver Lake for swimming


Gary Bickett, Public Health
Phone: (360) 397-8160

Bill Bjerke, Public Works
Phone: (360) 397-2285 ext. 8323

Vancouver, WA-- Clark County Public Health has reopened Vancouver Lake to swimming and other recreational use after lab results indicated that E. coli bacteria levels are within acceptable limits.

The lake was closed Thursday after routine testing showed elevated levels of E. coli.

“We strongly urge parents not to not take diapered children or those who haven’t been potty trained into the water,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer. “We also advise people who catch fish at Vancouver Lake to always cook the fish completely, whether or not a health advisory has been issued. Any body of water can become contaminated.”

Public Health will continue to monitor Vancouver Lake for bacteria every two weeks this summer.

To avoid catching or spreading E. coli or other illness that can spread in swimming areas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all swimmers observe the following:

  • Don't swim or wade if you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.

  • Don't swallow the water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.

  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.

Parents of young kids should observe these steps:

  • Take your kids on bathroom breaks often. If you hear "I have to go," it may be too late.

  • Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area, not near the water. Germs can spread easily in the water. Keep children who aren’t potty trained out of the water.

  • Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the water.

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