Parks superintendent says Center Lake Beach closing is day-to-day

The Center Lake Beach was closed Wednesday due to the presence of E.coli, but it made for a quiet environment for a book reader. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Center Lake Beach could be reopened on Thursday — Independence Day — if tests taken Wednesday show a reduction in E.coli bacteria, according to Warsaw Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer.

The beach was closed Wednesday morning after the Kosciusko County Health Department notified the parks department that tests taken Tuesday showed an unsafe level of E.coli, Plummer said Wednesday afternoon.

More tests were taken on Wednesday.

“We’ll get a reading on those samples in the morning and they’ll advise us if the counts are good — if they’re good, we’ll reopen the beach,” Plummer said.

Updates on tests will be posted on the City of Warsaw Parks Department Facebook page.

The beach has been closed previously because of E.coli, but Wednesday’s decision was the first in nearly seven years.

Plummer said the recent high temperatures, may have contributed to the presence of E.coli.

Officials for years have said the old cement pier on the beach has contributed to the presence of E.coli because it causes water stagnation.

The pier has been closed for a year and the city plans to remove it when money becomes available.

He said the emergency closing reinforces the need to remove the pier.

Given the measures that have been taken in recent years to reduce E.coli, Plummer is hoping it’s an isolated incident.

The parks department uses a specialized rake to remove debris — including goose droppings — from the beach seven days a week. 

Employees also remove geese from its two beaches when they show up.

The only geese removed this year, though, have been at Pike Lake, he said.

“We have not seen them at Center so I don’t think it’s a fowl problem,” he said. “I would lean more toward temperature or water movement. I’m not a scientist, but that’s my sense over the years.”

Plummer was asked if the circumstances reminded him of Jaws, the classic 1970s movie in which a community was under pressure to close a beach over a public safety issue (a shark!) ahead of the Fourth of July.

He laughed and offered an optimistic outlook.

“Our hopes are that the tests come back tomorrow and we can get the beach back open and our lifeguards are ready one way or another.”