County Park Beach Closure

CROOKED LAKE ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

REVIEW OF BEACH CLOSURE INFORMATION AT THE STEUBEN COUNTY PARK

JULY 12, 2022


The public beach at the county park was closed late last week and over the weekend due to

high bacteria levels in the water sample tested from the beach. The state of Indiana Dept of

Environmental Management (IDEM) requires weekly testing at the park during the warm

weather months. Testing is done by the county park superintendent.


This was the first beach closure in 2022. The beach was closed twice in 2021 for the same

reason. The beach was reopened on July 12, 2022 based on followup water testing results.


The positive test that required the beach closure apply strictly to the public beach and the

immediate area around the beach. The better news for Crooked Lake users is that the bacteria

quickly dissipate as you move away from the shore due to sunlight, oxygen, wind, and wave

action. Crooked Lake was never closed for water sports or swimming.


The high bacteria levels found in the beach water sample were likely from the water flowing into

Crooked Lake from one or both of the two ditches, the Carpenter and the Palfreyman. Over the

past several years, the Steuben County Lakes Council (SCLC) has been testing waters flowing

into several lakes in the county. Results of testing of the Carpenter and Palfreyman ditches have

shown high levels of E.coli and Phosphorus more often than not. The E.coli bacteria is found in

the digestive tract of warm blooded animals including humans. The phosphorus is often from

laundry detergents and fertilizers; the phosphorus supports growth of algae and invasive weeds

in our lake.


The above average test results are most often high after rainfall events such as last week. The

rain tends to flush the ditches more quickly bringing water and other pollutants into our lake. In

other words, the high test results at the beach is likely due to the high water flow from the

ditches.


More recently, the SCLC has been testing water samples from a variety of our lakes to

determine if the E.coli is likely from human sources or other animals. These test results in 2021

showed the presence of human DNA in samples from both ditches in question for our lake.

Water samples in 2022 have been taken for another round of DNA testing. Results will not be

available for several weeks.


As explained at our Annual Meeting in June, with support of our members, the Crooked Lake

Association Board of Directors financially supports the Lakes Council’s water testing, and is

working with several organizations to improve water quality in our lake.


And finally, we are also strongly encouraging you, our Crooked Lake residents, to get involved

to let county officials and offices know of your concerns. This is not a new problem and will

take everyone to help find a resolution. Please use your voices by contacting the

Steuben County Offices (260-668-1000), County Commissioners Ext. 1224; Board of

Health Ext. 1500; County Surveyor Ext. 1800; Parks Department Ext. 2110. Also the

Lakes Council can be reached at 260-665-1730.

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