Officials with the Conway Parks and Recreation took to the department’s Facebook page on Wednesday to warn community members around issues with Beaverfork Lake.
According to the post, the swim area closed around mid-morning and continue to be so until further notice.
“All Boating and fishing activities are unaffected,” the post reads. “Please check back for more updates.”
This isn’t the first time the swimming beach in Conway has been closed.
Around this time last summer, high E. coli levels forced park officials to shut the swim area down as well.
E.coli is a bacteria found in the environment, foods and intestines of people and animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
It states that while most strains are harmless, others can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia among other illnesses.
Beaverfork Lake Manager Thomas Meares has previously cited the wildlife in the area and the high periods of rainfall that wash fecal matter into the water as causes, encouraging lakegoers not to feed animals nearby because of the potential to increase bacteria in the water.
“Unfortunately we had a high reading on 6/18 that just came back today,” Meares told the LCD on Wednesday. “They are asking us to bring [two] consecutive ‘good’ samples to them and then we will be good to open back up.”
The closure comes on the cusp of Faulkner County’s largest Fourth of July celebration, Freedom Fest, hosted by City Church on Saturday.
One of the event’s co-directors, Lane Long, told the LCD he had been in contact with Meares. Meares confirmed a positive testing for E. coli as the result of Wednesday’s shutdown.
“Thomas suspects that this could be due to the recent flooding and rain causing murkiness in the water,” Long said. “Over the next couple of days, Beaverfork will be sending in tests on the water and we will have an answer by Friday as to whether or not people will be permitted to use the lake to swim.”
He said they are hoping for a negative reading by Friday so the “state of Arkansas can enjoy “the lake as part of the Freedom Fest experience.”
The fifth annual fireworks display celebration is free and open to the public.
The family-friendly event will welcome thousands from across the state, who will have the opportunity to eat from local food trucks, partake in summer activities and listen to live music starting at 5 p.m.
Fireworks will begin after dark.