Water quality warning issued at Mosquito Lake

Officials are looking at the possibility of a false reading.

staff report

BAZETTA — A water quality warning has been issued for the Mosquito Lake State Park swimming area because of high readings for E. coli bacteria in the water.

The warning was posted Sunday afternoon, said Michael Grammer, park manager.

The posting prohibits children, the elderly and those with illnesses from swimming until the results of further testing are received.

Grammer said that test readings of above 235 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters of water is considered unsafe. The latest tests showed 9,400 units per milliliter. The previous test showed 2 units.

“Something’s out of whack,” Grammer said Monday.

Water quality tests are normally conducted every two weeks, but will be done weekly beginning today. Testing is done by Alloway, a Marion, Ohio, laboratory that is approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“It warrants immediate action,” the park manager said of the high readings.

He explained that it may be an “isolated event” in that the water or bottles used to take water samples were contaminated or there was faulty testing equipment that provided a false reading.

Robert Davis, director of utility services for Warren city, said the Army Corps of Engineers believes there was an error in sampling.

“I think we’re fine,” Davis said of the water quality, noting that the city takes 51 bacterial samples monthly and no E. coli bacteria has been detected. The lake is the source of the city’s water.

If a high E. coli bacterial level is found, Davis said more disinfectant will be added to the raw water at the city’s Elm Road treatment plant.

The reservoir serves as the source of drinking water to Warren and some surrounding communities. Grammer said that Warren city treats the water with a disinfectant before putting it into the distribution system.

Although the Trumbull County Health Department has expressed concern about water quality because of sewage leaching into the reservoir, Grammer said that remains a constant and this is the first spike in E. coli in the five years he has been working at the park. The symptoms of E. coli vary for each person, but include stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting and mild fever. Most people get better in five to seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control.