Keep cool at local pools, but beware E. coli and algae

Doggy paddlers beware: Lake MacBride has reported unusually high levels of E. coli this summer -- photo by Dawn Frary
Doggy paddlers beware: Lake MacBride has reported unusually high levels of E. coli this summer —photo by Dawn Frary

Johnson County beach bums and pool-goers hoping to beat the heat in the last days of summer should be wary of the microscopic company they keep.

“August is the peak month for the blue-green algae blooms that are an increasingly common threat to Iowa Lakes during the summer,” The Press-Citizen reports.

Caused in part by sewage runoff, agricultural fertilizer and other nitrogen and phosphorous-bearing sources, these algal blooms tend to carry microcystin, a toxin that can yield a nasty rash and induce vomiting in humans, and lead to potentially fatal liver damage in small animals. (Read: keep Fido out of the water).

E. coli, meanwhile, has a pronounced presence in several Johnson County lakes and public pools. Though the effects of the bacteria (commonly associated with fecal coliform) are mitigated by the chlorine in public pools, lakes have no such sterilizing protection. Lake MacBride, in particular, has had particularly high bacteria levels this summer.

Swimmers are advised to wash immediately after swimming and, of course, to refrain from swallowing pool and lake water.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.