Know Before You Go: Beach-goers reminded to stay aware of water conditions

MADISON – With nearly two dozen beaches across Dane County, beach days are a summer favorite. But those outings can quickly become unsafe if lakes are contaminated by harmful bacteria.

E. Coli and blue-green algae are sampled at Dane County beaches every week and conditions are updated online for local beach-goers. But because changing weather can impact water conditions in as little as an hour, public health officials are urging people to stay aware and “know before you go.”

Morgan Finke with PHMDC said it’s always best to check water conditions before you head out. However, she said because water quality can change so rapidly, it’s good to double-check once you arrive.

“Kind of survey the area and if you notice any signs of blue-green algae or potentially that frothy kind of texture that’s not quite right at the surface of the water, avoid going into that water,” Finke said.

Finke noted it’s alright to stay on the beach, but make sure to keep a close eye on kids and pets in case they begin to drink or play in the lake. If they do, contact your vet or doctor and watch for signs of nausea, drooling, or disorientation.