In the middle of a stretch of unrelenting heat, the beach at has been closed due to high levels of E. coli.
The Oak Creek Health Department posted signs about the closure last week, though that hasn't stopped people from continuing to swim and sunbathe on the beach, Health Officer Judi Price said. E. coli is a bacteria that can cause serious infections.
Price urged residents to heed warnings and not use the beach until the area can be cleaned up, despite the constant 90-degree temperatures that have left people needing a place to cool off.
Price said she wasn't sure when the beach would reopen. The Oak Creek and South Milwaukee health departments are monitoring the water and have tested it each day except for Sunday. Results come back the following day.
But much is out of the health department's hands and depends on the weather—some rain and wind would be a good start to alleviating problems. Officials have worked with the Milwaukee County Parks Department to clear up what they can.
Contributing to the problem are large amounts of foul-smelling algae on the beach's shore. Seagulls fly in and eat the algae, then leave feces, which contain E. coli.
"It's a constant, vicious cycle," Price said.
Milwaukee County Supervisor Steve Taylor said he hopes the beach can reopen soon.
"We would love to have it open in this heat, so Oak Creek and surrounding communities can use Lake Michigan," he said.
The E. coli is another problem to hit Bender Park. Last month, Taylor said the county near the boat launch, just one year after a $280,000 dredging project.