Lake O' the Pines beaches closed, too much E.coli in water

By Taylor Hemness - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - The beaches at a popular East Texas lake are off limits for swimmers because of high levels of E.coli.

The Lake O' the Pines project announced Thursday that the seven swimming beaches at the northeast Texas lake are closed until further notice. But, this does not mean you have to skip the lake altogether.

Brandy Cohorst of Marshall had a big day of swimming planned with her kids. But her plans were ruined right after she got out of the car.

"[We] want to go swimming you know?" said Cohorst. "It's hot. Everybody's sweating. We get a big old piece of white paper that says we can't."

Last week, officials performed their regular tests on the lake, and came to a decision that was a first.

"[We have] never had to close the beaches here at Lake O' the Pines," said lake manager Bobby Hamrick. "And we're closing due to high bacteria counts in six of the seven swimming areas," said .

The decision to close the beaches can only be made if the water fails two consecutive tests. Hamrick says they tested again Monday, and if the water passes, the beaches could be open again by the end of the week. But the tests don't affect all of the water in the lake.

"The lake, basically, isn't closed," Hamrick explained. "The standards are not as stringent on the rest of the lake, and TCEQ monitors the counts out in the lake, and I have contacted the Tyler office, and they assured me that they have not had high counts associated with Lake O' the Pines."

Hamrick says there is no one thing that could have caused the high E.coli counts, and it could be something as simple as the recent high rains.

"The lake has come up a couple of feet in the last week or so, and we had a lot of fresh water, and historically, that's when we get high counts," Hamrick explained.

Until the water passes the test, the only way to get on Lake O' the Pines is by boat. Some people like Cohorst are left to make the most of it.

"I'm glad we do know, 'cause I wouldn't want my kids to get sick," she said.

If you have questions about where you can and can't be at Lake O'The Pines, call the project office at 903-665-2336.

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