WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WENY) – The Seneca Lake swimming area near Clute Park has been closed off to the public since this past Friday. After all the rain last week, E-coli bacteria has reportedly found its way into the waters. Clute Park and New York Department of Health officials are very serious about keeping the public out of the water.
Other than some ducks and seagulls, the swimming area was quiet with E-coli warning signs posted along the shores from the southern tip of the lake. Closed off since Friday, the water has not been deemed swimmable as of today, with the main cause of the scare being related to spilled sewage last week.
Clute Park Co-Head Lifeguard Lucas Wickham told WENY, “Back on Friday afternoon there was a spillage at one of the sewage centers down at Montour Falls due to the overage of water from all the rain we had.”
“It flowed down the canal into the southern end of the lake. My manager ran over here and told us we had to close the water immediately.”
With 3 days of accumulating rain, the spill overflowed into the canal which runs along canal street in Mountour Falls. Then making their way along the canal path near Catherine Street and under the North Catherine Street Bridge, the contaminants from the sewage plant containing the bacteria emptied into Seneca Lake. Making the water very unsafe for the time being.
Wickham added, “We had to really downsize our lifeguards everyday because we can't allow people in the water. My fellow lifeguard Olivia and I are here to make sure no one touches the water. Coming in contact at all with the water is dangerous and you could contract E-coli.”
Today the water was tested again by the New York State Department of Health, but no results have been made available as of this evening.