By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
According to surface water tests, the water in Cherry Lake is safe for swimming, skiing and other recreational activity, said Bill Gibson of the Madison County Health Department, Environmental Health Division. After collecting samples last week, the health department got the results back Friday, Aug. 1, and found that the lake water passed the test for swimming, since the tests for harmful bacteria had come back at less than CFU (colony-forming unit) per billion, or a near-unmeasurable amount.
“River water testing is done the same way,” Gibson stated, adding that it was the first time he was aware of that Cherry Lake had been tested. However, according to a recent Florida statute, all bodies of water used for swimming are supposed to be tested every month during the summer months, and Gibson said that would be the case from now on with Cherry Lake.
Robert Freeman, the Cherry Lake resident who would like to see the lake get more attention, said he still has concerns, because he doesn’t know exactly where the water samples were drawn on the lake – there are areas that are worse than others – and he would have liked to have been there to see, and to point out some of the worst spots.
He still doesn’t trust that the water is safe and won’t be swimming in it himself. The water, which he described as a kind of lime green when the first Cherry Lake story ran in the July 9 edition of the Madison County Carrier, is now brown, and besides himself, there are other residents who don’t want to go in the water. He has also noticed a few visitors who have decided not to go into the water as soon as they saw what it looked like.
“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen it,” he said.
He is still working on forming an association of lake residents to bring attention to Cherry Lake.