There are twelve permitted public bathing beaches along Pennsylvania's Lake Erie shoreline, which are monitored for E.coli bacteria. Eleven are located on Presque Isle State Park (PISP), which is managed, by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The other one, located in North East is managed by North East Township. The health and safety conditions of these beaches are regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Studies regarding the sources of bacterial contamination at the beaches have determined that bacteria from both human and animals are responsible. Levels tend to be considerably higher during and after wet weather, when storm water runoff is elevated.
During the swimming season from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, each of these beaches has three sampling stations. The eleven PISP beaches are sampled twice a week, and the NE Twp. beach once a week.
A swimming advisory will be posted if the E. coli level in a water sample is greater than or equal to 235 cfu/100ml, but less than 1,000 cfu/100ml. Swimming will be permitted and the public will be informed that the E. coli level exceeds standards and what precautions to take if they choose to enter the water. If the E. coli is equal to or greater than 1,000-cfu/100 ml, the beach will be posted with a swimming restriction and swimming will not be permitted. When an E. coli level drops below 1,000cfu/100ml but remains above 235 cfu/100ml, the beach will be posted as an advisory. Advisories will be lifted only when resampling indicates a bacteria level below 235. If an advisory or a restriction is posted, only the posted beaches will be re-sampled for three consecutive days.
Additional studies are being conducted to better determine the sources of contamination, and scientists are developing a model to predict when bacterial levels will be high based on rainfall, wind, stream flow, etc.
Hotline for Beach Conditions in Pennsylvania at Lake Erie:
Lifeguard Headquarters, 814-833-0526
Designated Beach Areas At Lake Erie
Presque Isle State Park
- Barracks Beach
- Beach 1
- Beach 1 West
- Beach 1 West Ext.
- Beach 2 (not open for swimming, but monitored for study purposes)
- Beach 6
- Beach 7
- Beach 8
- Beach 9
- Beach 10
- Beach 11
- Light House Beach (not open for swimming and not monitored)
- Mill Road Beach
North East Township Beach
State Contact For Pennsylvania Beaches