During the heat of the summer, Rogers Park attracts quite a following among Hernando County's school-aged kids who flock to its shores for a cooling respite.
But on Wednesday, Hernando County Parks and Recreation Department closed the swimming area of the park at 7244 Shoal Line Blvd. after bacteriological sampling results indicated high levels of fecal coliform bacteria that may pose an increased risk of infectious disease to susceptible individuals and children.
The bacteria is commonly found in the intestinal tracts of animals, birds and reptiles and can infect open wounds and ears and cause gastrointestinal illness.
Though the rest of the park will continue to be open, the swimming area will remained closed until bacteria levels return to normal.
County Environmental Manager Albert Gray said that water samples taken from the area exceeded the state's water quality standard of 200 parts per millileter of water. The infestation was most likely caused by runoff from recent heavy rainfall.
Bacterial contamination has plagued Rogers Park for years. In 2003, it was closed to swimming for five weeks. The park was briefly closed in 2004 and 2008.
Testing at the park will continue daily, Gray said.
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 848-1435.