Beach Water Testing

Rusk County Public Health samples and monitors beaches for the presence of E. coli bacteria. Beach water quality testing is done to advise swimmers when conditions exist that may lead to illness. Samples are tested the same day as collection by the Rusk County Public Health Water lab with results known the following day.

What beaches are tested?

  • Memorial Park Beach, Ladysmith (tested weekly, Memorial Day to Labor Day)
  • Trails End Camp Beach, Bruce (tested weekly, Memorial Day to Labor Day, while camp is in use)


Results for Rusk County's beaches and other Wisconsin beaches can be found here.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is E. coli?

E. coli is the abbreviated name for Escherichia coli. The name E. coli encompasses a wide range of bacteria, some of which help us and some of which hurt us. The presence of E. coli in swimming areas means that other disease-causing microorganisms may be present as well and can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and fever.


What causes elevated levels of E. coli bacteria in beach water?

  • Rain storms, surface water and runoff may drain into the beach
  • Animal droppings from geese, dogs, etc. 
  • Runoff from area surfaces and yards
  • Children having "accidents" in the water


What happens with the results?

  • beach advisory sign will be posted at that beach, in the event that bacteria levels are elevated above 235 cfu/100 ml, as established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for an increased health risk to swimmers. Swimming is allowed, but caution is recommended.
  • beach closure sign will be posted at that beach, in the event that bacteria levels are at an unsafe level of 1,000 cfu/100 ml and swimming is not recommended.
  • In the event that an advisory or closure sign is posted at the beach, that beach will be re-tested and the advisory or closure will be lifted once E.coli bacteria levels are below the EPA standard of 235 cfu/100 ml.