E. coli swim alert

Camp Branch Beach at Smithville Lake is under a swim advisory after water samples showed elevated levels of E. coli present.

CLAY COUNTY — For the second time in less than a month, Clay County Parks staff issued a swim advisory for Camp Branch Beach at Smithville due to elevated levels of E. coli in the water.

The advisory, posted in a release earlier this week to the county’s website, www.claycountymo.gov, states the elevated bacteria levels are the result of waterfowl and weather.

“A swimming advisory has been issued for Camp Branch Beach at Smithville Lake because of elevated E. coli due to the presence of geese and changing weather patterns. However, levels at Little Platte Beach are within normal range as set by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources,” states the county release.

E. coli bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals.

“Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia,” states information of the Centers for Disease Control website, www.cdc.gov.

Camp Branch Beach is located on the east side of the lake within Camp Branch Bauman Park, across the parking lot from the Camp Branch Marina and the boat launch. It is accessible by vehicle and pedestrians and cyclists from Bonebender Trail.

“E. coli is naturally occurring and can happen after heavy rains or from various wildlife. Clay County follows the same procedures as the state of Missouri when other beaches have an elevated E. coli reading,” states the county release.

Assistant County Administrator for Public Services Nicole Brown said the county alerts the public on the county site and social media during times of alert.

“During a swimming advisory, such as what we have at the Camp Branch swim beach, we post signs at the beach and before the entry booth to inform the public. We also broadcast on social media to keep our customers informed with up-to-date information,” she said.

The last swim advisory for the beach swim area occurred in late June after increased E. coli levels resulted from runoff associated with recent heavy rains and flooding. The beach advisory was lifted days later on July 1, when regularly weekly water samples, taken each Monday, showed E. coli levels back within acceptable range.

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