WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Walla Walla District of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advises the public to not swim in nor drink water from Bennington Lake because of an initial indication of E. coli bacteria presence during a routine monthly water test by the Corps.
A second set of water samples is being submitted by the Corps to the Walla Walla County Health Department for additional testing to confirm or deny E. coli levels being a potential hazard to human health. Boating and fishing continues to be allowed. Fish caught in the lake should be cooked and not eaten raw.
As a precaution, warning signs have been posted at Bennington Lake.
District officials routinely sample water at Bennington Lake even though there is no designated swim beach. Bennington Lake initial test results received Thursday revealed E. coli counts of 170 per each 100 milliliters of sample. That figure is higher than the 126 per 100 ml. that is deemed safe for swimming areas by Washington state health officials. The initial sample was taken near the bottom of the boat ramp.
For additional information, call the Corps' Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake office in Walla Walla at (509) 527-7160.
Release no. 11-105