AURORA, Colo. - Cherry Creek State Park’s designated natural swim area is temporarily closed because routine water quality tests, performed to meet Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) requirements, contained higher than allowable E. coli bacteria levels.
The beach area and other water related activities such as boating, waterskiing, paddleboarding and fishing will remain open to the public. Only the swim beach area is closed.
"These closures are not a common occurrence, but can be caused by fecal waste from wildlife, run-off from urban areas, or excessive run-off from rain, which we have had a lot of lately,” said Cherry Creek State Park Manager Jason Trujillo. ”There is still a lot of water coming into the reservoir, which is a good thing to be this full in July, but that is potentially the cause of our elevated samples.”
The water gets tested daily to monitor the situation and when the bacteria levels meet CDPHE standards, the swim area will be reopened. Water quality testing in natural swimming areas is mandated by the CDPHE and the Colorado Board of Health. It is required to report water quality data to the CDPHE on a regular basis during the swimming season to ensure public health and safety.
Over on the western side of the Metro Area in Littleton, Chatfield State Park’s swim beach reopened on Wednesday. It had closed Tuesday after one of its two test readings came in above the CDPHE-defined levels. Retesting took place Tuesday and those laboratory tests were made available Wednesday afternoon, showing they had returned to a safe level.
“Additional tests taken from our swim beach were shown to be well below the levels the CDPHE procedures warrant for a closure,” said Ben Vinci, Chatfield State Park operations manager. “We had the one irregular sample that caused us to close the swim beach on Tuesday out of an abundance of caution, but the rest of our samples this year have been below the maximum limit. With today’s test results showing the levels are safe, we reopened our swim beach.”
According to the CDPHE, water quality samples are analyzed for the fecal matter, or E. coli. If a laboratory result shows an E. coli concentration above 235 organisms per 100 milliliters, the beach must be closed. The beach will remain closed until E. coli results return to a safe level.
For information on when the swim area will reopen, follow us on Twitter at @CPW_NE, or visit our website at https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/Parks/cherrycreek.
For more information regarding Colorado natural swim area monitoring, please visit CDPHE's web page at https://cdphe.colorado.gov/swim-beach-monitoring