Mill Creek MetroParks lakes to reopen next year
Mill Creek MetroParks’ lakes likely will reopen to the public next year, MCMP executive director Aaron Young said after a multi-agency forum Monday that spelled out the final results from a 12-week water-testing program that the Mahoning County District Board of Health conducted in the park.
That program, which aimed to determine trends that impact E. coli bacteria levels in Lake Newport, was initiated after a massive fish kill in that lake in June. Subsequent testing found elevated levels of the bacteria in the water.
Park lakes have been closed since July due to public-health concerns. Young said that when the lakes reopen, the park likely will install advisory signs warning the public of potential risks.
Some takeaways from the program, according to information provided by the health board, are that weather conditions have a significant impact on bacteria levels; the Newport Wetlands area provides some form of bacterial cleanup; and that more than one factor contributes to water pollution in the park.
What is crucial, health board officials emphasized, is understanding the issue in terms of the entire Mill Creek Watershed. The testing program found that, while Lake Newport’s baseline (as determined by a measurement called a seasonal geometric mean) E. coli level is below what is considered a safe level, the watershed’s is above that level.
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