'All clear' given to swimming in Bennington Lake

The latest tests show the bacteria has dropped to safe levels.

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A lone kayaker paddles through the colors of Bennington Lake early Friday morning after the waters were re-opened following a return to safe levels. A recent E. coli scare shut the lake down for several days. July 15, 2011

WALLA WALLA -- It's safe to go back in the water.

An advisory against swimming in Bennington Lake has been lifted after tests for bacteria showed results well below levels regarded as harmful.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, warned against swimming in the lake last week after a test showed levels of E. coli bacteria higher than is deemed safe by state health officials.

In a release, Corps spokesman Stephen Doherty said initial test results received July 7 revealed E. coli counts of 170 per each 100 milliliters of sample.

That figure is higher than the 126 per 100 milliliters that is deemed safe for swimming.

Subsequent samples taken since then showed much lower levels, Doherty said. The latest test results taken Wednesday showed 8 parts per 100 milliliters.

Water samples are routinely taken at the lake even though there is no designated swim beach.

The samples tested were taken near the bottom of the boat ramp, Doherty said.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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