Kern County Public Health warns residents about bacteria in Lake Ming, encourages no water contact

Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 21:45:42-04

Health officials are warning residents to stay out of the water at Lake Ming after high levels of bacteria were found.     

What was supposed to be a fun family outing turned into concern after two parents were told there were high levels of bacteria in Lake Ming.

The Kern County Department of Public Health posted signs this morning advising visitors to stay out of the lake after health officials became concerned about recent findings in the water.

“This was our first time that we were actually going to get in the water we brought their life jackets and everything,” said Whitney Garcia. “But then we found out there was bacteria in the water.”

“We have some test results that we have received that indicate there may be the presence of pathogens in the water at levels that could cause illness,” said Matt Constantine, the director of Kern County Public Health Services.

There are eight signs posted around the lake warning residents that the water could make them sick, but some families say they weren’t very obvious and suggested that a sign should be placed near the play area.

Officials say they believe there was an adequate amount of signage.

And says it’s important to note there are no standards for recreational bodies of water like Lake Ming.

However, they’re using proposed standards out of an abundance of caution.

Officials said they don’t know what is causing the high levels of bacteria or if the Kern River, which flows through Lake Ming, is effected.

“Are there potential sources of contamination? Could there be a septic system that is not properly working? Could there be other influences that are occurring at certain times? We don’t know,” said Constantine.

Officials say they’re focused on trying to identify potential causes – and simultaneously look for ways to better manage the lake.

Officials said there will be no enforcement and residents can enter the water at their own risk.

Officials said they don’t know at this time when the lake will be ready for recreational use again.