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There will be another E.coli test

But chairman not sure when

August 18, 2010 | 07:43 AM
Bloomfield — Last week, Town Chairman Ken Monroe said he wasn't sure the recent E.coli tests initiated by a local man yielded accurate results.

On Monday, Monroe said he will have Pell Lake tested again for E.coli.

He's just not sure when.

Recently, town resident Rich Olenoski submitted water samples collected at the lake's north and south beaches. The Genoa City Public Works Department conducted the tests. The samples from the north beach came in more than double the high end of the state's recommended advisory level.

But last week, Monroe questioned whether Olenoski followed the protocol used to collect these samples.

Now, the question is when will the test be done. Monroe said he still is trying to make contact with Ted Peters, executive director of the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency.

Monroe said Audrey Greene, Walworth County's lake specialist, sent him information on beach program policies.

Monroe said he plans to "go ahead and have the test done" once he has consulted with Peters and finished reviewing Greene's material. He said he's not sure if having an E.coli test needs to go before the Bloomfield Town Board. Monroe said he will consult with Town Attorney Brian Schuk before moving forward.

"We've never had to do this before," Monroe said. "But it's a health issue."

Already, there have been several unconfirmed reports of illness. An anonymous person told Bill Markut, president of the Pell Lake Sanitary District, six people became ill after swimming in Pell Lake.

However, Monroe's response appeared somewhat skeptical.

"The sign was posted and, all of the sudden, people are saying they're sick," he said. "No one came forward before this."

More about illness complaints will appear in a future edition of the Regional News.

The last time an E.coli threat gripped the community was between 10 and 15 years ago. Then, for a couple weeks, the beaches were closed.

But perhaps Peters can shed some light on matters.

According to the GLEA's summer 2010 edition of "Geneva Waters," the agency began testing for E.coli in 2000. Prior to that, the agency used to test for fecal bacteria, which is what the Pell Lake Sanitary District currently tests on Pell Lake.

However, in 2000, the State Hygiene Lab recommended the agency make the switch to E.coli testing. GLEA collects 16 samples each week at the five Geneva Lake beaches.

"Although there has been an occasional problem with bacteria at one or another site on a beach, the majority of the samples has met the recommended criteria for public beaches," the agency stated about Geneva Lake beaches.

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