The city of Berkeley announced Friday that the water in West Berkeley’s Aquatic Park is currently unsafe for human contact, advising residents to avoid the water at Aquatic Park, as first reported by Berkeleyside.
According to Berkeleyside, lab tests showed an increase in bacteria in the water. The recorded number of fecal bacteria this week, such as E. coli and the intestinal bacteria enterococci, were significantly above normal standards. According to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko, the most recent tests were for the intestinal bacteria enterococci.
Chakko added that the city tests the water every month and began testing the water on a weekly basis after reported concerns about the color of the water during the summer. The park is not closed, but Chakko said community members should avoid any contact with the water.
“What we’re doing is testing the water on a more frequent basis and trying to determine what’s happening, looking into what the sources are, what the bacteria increase is; it is a large expense of water,” Chakko said.
According to Chakko, the aquatic park is an artificial lagoon. He added that the lagoon originates from creek water as well as different storm drains, and the lagoon has a total of 14 different storm drains.
Berkeleyside reported that the samples for enterococci showed that there were 370 bacteria per 100 milliliters north of the lagoon, 650 at the center of the lagoon and 520 south of the lagoon.
Currently, there are warning signs around the park in English and Spanish. According to Berkeleyside, the signs read: “Recent testing shows elevated levels of bacteria,” and “Water contact may cause illness. Shower and towel dry after contact.”