Bathing Beach and Recreational Waters in Ashtabula County and Ohio
Before you swim, you can check for current beach monitoring results — click here for the map, http://publicapps.odh.ohio.gov/beachguardpublic/.
We are able to use the Bathing Beach Monitoring Program, which is a cooperative effort of the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, local health departments with public beaches within their jurisdictions and private and public organizations along the Lake Erie border and throughout Ohio. The goal of the program is to assure a safe and healthy aquatic recreational environment by protecting the bathing public from risks of contracting waterborne diseases from exposure to contaminated waters or public health exposure to toxins found in Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB).
Information on E. coli and cyanobacteria warnings/advisories and cyanotoxin results are available on the BeachGuard webpage, www.odh.ohio.gov/healthybeaches. Ohio has a Harmful Algal Bloom Response Strategy for responding to reports of cyanobacteria blooms, thresholds for cyanotoxin exposure, and recommendations regarding recreational use of the water when toxins are present. Samples for E. coli and cyanobacteria are collected at state park beaches, and boat ramps. The sample results are listed on the BeachGuard webpage. More information on HABs can be found at http://www.ohioalgeainfo.com/. Information on health effects of exposure to cyanotoxins can be found at http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/eh/HABs/algalblooms.aspx
- Samples and analyzes water from selected bathing beaches along the Lake Erie shoreline. This information is used to monitor changes in water quality and the status of pollution abatement activities within the Lake Erie watershed.
- Analyzes water from various bathing beaches under the control of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources throughout the state to determine water quality and to monitor changes in the various state park watersheds.
- Provides for prompt notification whenever the water at public beaches becomes contaminated, thereby helping to better inform the bathing public and ultimately prevent the spread of disease.
The program also highly encourages the development of localized beach water monitoring efforts, predictive models for assessing recreational water quality, pre-emptive warning systems to inform the public more effectively and aquatic sanitation programs for identifying and eliminating potential pollution sources.
If you have questions about a specific beach, you should call the beach or park office directly.
Recreational Water Illnesses
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reminds us that recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs and chemicals found in the water we swim in. They are spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. RWIs can also be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that turn into gas in the air and cause air quality problems at indoor aquatic facilities.
Knowing the basic facts about RWIs can make the difference between an enjoyable time at the pool, beach, or waterpark, and getting a rash, having diarrhea, or developing other, potentially serious illnesses.
Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. RWIs can also be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water and cause indoor air quality problems. RWIs can be a wide variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea.
Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. Americans swim hundreds of millions of times in pools, oceans, lakes, rivers, and hot tubs/spas each year, and most people have a safe and healthy time enjoying the water. However, it is important to be aware of ways to prevent illness, sunburn, and drowning that can occur.