Noble County Health officials close lake due to high levels of E. coli

Crews continue to run tests on the water in Waldron Lake after high levels of E. coli are detected.

NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) Health officials have put restrictions in place after popular Waldron Lake tests high for E. coli.

It all started last week when the first test was done after the lakes association was concerned about contamination following severe flooding. According to the West Lakes Association, the first test showed E. coli levels were more than four times higher than the safe limit. After that Emergency Management and the Noble County Health Department got involved and ran another test. The next test was more than 10 times higher than the safe limit.

“Now we’re going to do at least six tests today around the lake to try to localize the source,” Noble County Environmental Health Specialist Jason Pippenger said.

Janis Sproat lives on Waldron Lake.

“There has been no summer,” Sproat said. “We got it through up to July fourth and then after that my grandkids can’t come up. I don’t want them in the yard, they can’t be in the water and they love to swim.”

With the levels rising, that won’t happen anytime soon. Pippenger said Thursday’s testing will hopefully help identify areas where the contamination is concentrated and point to the source, because right now health officials don’t know where it’s coming from.

“Along with the flooding and all the recent rains there’s a lot of water coming through this area and this is the last lake in the chain before it goes out the river, so it’s kind of bottled up here,” Pippenger said.

When it comes to getting rid of the E. coli, Pippenger said there isn’t much that can be done.

“Either stop the source if we can define that or it’s going to work itself out by flushing through the lake,” Pippenger said.

Sproat said she’s been helping the West Lakes Association secretary, Diann Scott, get ready for an upcoming meeting where water levels and the contamination will be discussed. As for her home, since she can’t get in the water she’ll stay on shore and clean up the mess.

“We need to replenish our dirt plus re-seed and replant flowers. It’s just miserable,” Sproat said.

Waldron Lake is connected to several other bodies of water, but health officials said Waldron is the only one testing high for E. coli.

The lake was already closed to boats because of high water and officials said they don’t know how long the restrictions will stay in place.

To learn more about the West Lakes Association click here.

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