Echo Park Lake has been a big topic of discussion in recent months. In March, the LAPD removed hundreds of unhoused residents from the park, before completely shutting it down for clean-up and repairs. After 2 months of clean-ups and repairs, the park completely reopened. Nearly 6 months later, the lake is in the news for a different reason - high levels of E-coli, a bacteria that comes primarily from human waste.
A recent report by LA City was obtained by CBS Los Angeles, the report showed bags and bottles of human waste that were retrieved from the park. To make matters worse, the report noted that some of the material (human waste) had gone unnoticed and "became dissolved in the water". Acting assistant general manager of L.A. Sanitation and Environment, Shahram Kharaghani, told CBS Los Angeles that the water quality of the lake was "good", but also confirmed that the city did not routinely test the lake water for bacteria.
David Goldstein of CBS Los Angeles took matters into his own hands, collected water samples, and sent those samples to a certified lab to have that water tested for E-coli. The results returned from the lab and they were shocking! One of the water samples came back seven times higher than California's water quality standard for E-coli.
Goldstein spoke to Dr. Samuel Dorevitch, an associate professor of health science, while discussing the findings he mentioned:
"Yes, those numbers are high,"
and would continue,
"Those numbers, if it were a swimming beach, would trigger like a red flag saying no swimming in here."
Swimming is not allowed at the lake, but visitors do come in contact with the water while fishing and through the foutain. This is concerning.
“If people are paddling and going past a fountain that is spraying aerosol of that water, I wouldn’t say there’s zero risk,” ... “I think that there is risk.”
Dr. Dorevitch would mention
Goldstein spoke to a fisherman who mentioned that he sometimes eats the fish from the lake. In regards to people eating the fish that's swimming in this E-coli lake water, Goldstein spoke to Dr. Marc Kerner who told him,
People should “absolutely not” eat the fish and would say,
“If they do come in contact with the water, they really need to was their hands aggressively afterward and try to avoid as much contact and absolutely do not ingest that water,”
It is recommended that people should refrain from touching or even coming in contact with the water of the Echo Park Lake. If they do come in contact with the contaminated water, people should avoid touching their face.