2011-07-16 / Editorials & Letters

Guest Commentary: Yes, you may swim in Buckeye Lake

By Merv Bartholow, President, Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow

The question many are asking today is, “Is it Safe to Swim in Buckeye Lake?”

To answer this question requires more than a simple Yes or No.

Having lived at the lake for more than a decade, I would not hesitate to go for a swim and many, who have lived here much longer than me, have expressed similar reassurances.

If, as I suspect, many of the Beacon readers have been swimming in Buckeye Lake since they were children, they would likely have the same experience this year as they have had in the past.

Buckeye Lake, like all other lakes, is after all, a lake. That means it has mud in the bottom, fish in the water, every imaginable type of foreign material and no filtering system like one might find in a pool.

Buckeye Lake has existed in its current condition for many decades, in fact, it may be in better shape today than it has ever been.

Thanks to improved farming practices, the water entering the lake from the tributaries continues to be of a better quality than the water in the lake itself.

The effluent from the two waste water treatment plants, likewise, is some of the cleanest water entering the lake.

Much of our challenge, therefore, is dealing with what remains in the sediment, mostly from old septic systems. As we continue to solve yesteryears problems in the lake bottom, a better future is in store for all users of the Lake.

The phosphorous and nitrogen levels in the water column and sediment, while higher than they should be, are better today than they were last year.

The Microcystin Toxin levels in the lake are all within the guidelines established by the World Health Organization for Safe Recreation Purposes. In fact, of the 24 samples tested by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency this year, 11 have tested at a level established as Safe for Drinking. Certainly not my cup of tea from a taste perspective, but safe, nevertheless, as determined by environmental and health guidelines.

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