No swimming at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area ‘due to level of E. Coli’

People and pooches alike cool off in the lake at Terry Trueblood Recreation Center, September 2021. — Emma McClatchey/Little Village

There will be no swimming permitted at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, “due to the level of E. Coli detected in Sand Lake,” the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department announced on Monday afternoon. The ban “will last indefinitely until water quality improves.”

Updates on the situation will be posted on the department’s Parks and Trails page. “Advisories are generally updated on the Fridays of each week,” according to Parks and Rec.

E. Coli is a rod-shaped bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract and feces of warm-blooded animals. It is common in lakes, streams and rivers, but elevated levels are a strong indication that a body of water is contaminated by sewage or animal waste, both of which can contain disease-causing organisms.

Swimming in Sand Lake was temporarily banned last year in June due to elevated levels of E. Coli. At that time, seven state park beaches also had problems with high-levels of the bacteria. Whether that is currently the case is impossible to tell, because the Iowa Department of Natural Resources limits its routine water quality monitoring at state park beaches to the 14 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day.