BONO, Ark. – A test sample from Lake Bono sent to the Arkansas Department of Health for analysis returned a sample of E. coli bacteria, according to a document provided to NEA Report.
The test, which was requested by a candidate for Craighead County Judge, could indicate a potential public health concern but the current county judge is not yet convinced a problem exists – although he’s checking into it.
A 100ml water sample was collected from the lake on Oct. 26 by candidate Jeff Presley and sent to the Arkansas Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratory. One week later, on Nov. 1, the results came back and tested positive for E. coli, according to the report.
Presley said this is a matter of public safety.
“As a matter of public safety, this information should be made available to the people of Craighead County,” Presley said. “Clearly, regular water quality tests are needed seeing that the lake is open to the public for recreational use.”
The results were turned over to the local environmental health specialist, Presley said. However, Craighead County Judge Ed Hill, also running for reelection, said there was no guarantee of the test’s veracity and to his understanding, the test must be performed a certified water specialist.
“We’re checking to see if that was a legally turned in sample down at Little Rock and we’re going to do our own,” Hill said.
Videos prepared on the county’s behalf promote Lake Bono as a recreational destination for fishing, water skiing or other outdoor activities. Hill told NEA Report on Thursday he felt the lake was safe for fishing, although he said he didn’t think anyone would be in the water at this time of the year, anyway.
“(E. coli has) been in a lot of lakes and if it don’t get that high, it’s not that dangerous,” Hill said, adding, “It could be. (E. coli is) dangerous but I haven’t really looked at the report and we’d have to do our own to make sure to get our real numbers.”
“If it’s present, let’s make sure the levels are safe for the people to be out there,” Presley said. “And it may be – and that’s good. But why didn’t the steps get taken before now?”
Hill said he has talked to the Office of Emergency Management and directed a test to be performed on the lake to indicate the levels and if there is, indeed, a public safety concern.
“There’s a lot of stuff we’re going to have to do out there,” Hill said.
In the meantime, Hill said he felt the lake was still a safe destination and indicated it would remain open while another test was ordered.
“It’s safe to be on the water in a boat,” Hill said. “There’s been people out there all summer and we’ve not heard of any incident.”