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Geese and diapers contribute to high bacteria levels at Beltzville Lake

Geese and diapers contribute to high bacteria levels at Belt

LEHIGHTON, Pa. - A dip in a lake like Beltzville Lake in Carbon County would feel good on a hot day like Wednesday.

But swimmers beware, as 69 News has reported in the past, bacteria has closed the lake for days at a time.

Cooking on the grill and taking a dip in the lake is just part of enjoying mother nature on a nice day.

"It's refreshing, enjoying the sun, the water, and the sand, and the nice wind," said Aida Maranda, from East Newark, New Jersey.

"I know people quite frankly that say, 'Oh you're going to go up there,'" added Nazareth resident, Dave Bossert. "They say, 'Oh well we here the beach closes all the time.'"

Twice this month alone, the rippling waves of Beltzvile Lake Beach in Carbon County have been off-limits to swimmers, the water deemed unsafe due to high bacterial counts.

"It's an inconvenience when you go to a state park and you cannot swim but it's also with the patron's safety in mind, said Terry Brady, deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Officials say one potential problem could be all the geese and the waste they leave at the park.

All that waste mixing with the water is causing high bacteria levels.

"One thing is not to feed the geese," added Brady. "Don't encourage them to hang around but they do and of course their excrement is on the beaches sometimes and then it's washed in."

There are other factors as well, according to state officials, including dirty diapers being buried in the sand, water runoff from local farms and even the sun.

Those same rays you are trying to enjoy, are also a powerful incubator for bacteria.

"It's not a swimming pool where you can throw chlorine, it's a natural lake and sometimes people forget that," said Brady.

Park officials hope more education is the key to getting everyone to help keep the area open.

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