- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Several swimming areas in Arkansas have been closed due to high levels of E. coli.

The Arkansas Department of Health announced the closure of 19 swim beaches Thursday.

Some of the beaches include Lake Ouachita (WAH’-shih-tah) State Park in Garland County and Devil’s Fork at Greer’s Ferry Lake in Cleburne County.

According to the department, bacteria-filled flood waters that the state has seen in recent weeks have brought an elevated risk of contracting infections. Department spokesman Kerry Krell said E. coli and other naturally-present bacteria can be washed from animal waste to swim areas by heavy rain.

Krell said water samples will be tested from the contaminated areas. Krell said a swim beach can open after two consecutive water samples test below the Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold for E. coli.

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