PennEnvironment concerned over pollution at Presque Isle

Local News

It’s summertime, and many are hitting the beach to cool off from the heat. But one environmental group, PennEnvironment, says high levels of bacteria outlined in an EPA report should be a concern.

Ashleigh Deemer, deputy director of PennEnvironment, said as a kid, she would come to Presque Isle Beach with her family. But now, she worries the levels of pollution in the water are unsafe.

“Beach 11 of Presque Isle, 46 percent of the dates it was tested, was found to have levels of facile bacteria that exceeds health standards,” Deemer said. “And [that] could be potentially unsafe for people swimming there.”

After speaking with the Erie County Health Department to confirm the data, they said they haven’t had the chance to review that report. However, they did say they keep track of the bacterias at Presque Isle.

“I don’t believe we’ve seen any kind of increase,” said Breanna Adams, the director of Health Services. ” There are challenges in certain beaches. It’s just the way that the park is created, but that’s why we do the testing, and we do it twice weekly.”

So far, health department testing has shown two precautionary results and one high level advisory at three area beaches this year.

Erie mayor Joe Schember said he may consider using some of the funds from the American Rescue Plan to better monitor the water quality.

“We haven’t decided on the ARP funding because we don’t have the final rules or regulations,” Schember said. “But we definitely think we should use some of it so that the city can use the infrastructure better so things don’t get washed into the lake that shouldn’t be there.”

The Health Department said it is currently safe to swim in the waters, and there’s no advisory or restrictions for this Fourth of July weekend.

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