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Ecoli is a bacteria that causes disease. The City of Elk River actively monitors the lake for instances of Ecoli to ensure that the water is safe.

Please note that in 2018 the City started counting Ecoli levels at the beach. Previously a similar bacteria was tested for; that of fecal coliform.

As part of a river, the water exchange rate is only 2-3 days, so any problems are primarily short-lived.


Human matter is more toxic than animal Ecoli. It is therefore vital that you take do not let your children in diapers swim in the lake or dump any waste into a storm sewer or ditch, as it will be delivered untreated to the lake.

Most of the property immediately surrounding Lake Orono is on city sewer and water. However, those households in our large watershed that have a septic system are required by law to maintain their systems. Leakage and improper filtering of matter into waterways and groundwater can cause major health problems. As a preventive measure, homeowners should have their systems pumped every two years. They also should be careful of what they introduce into their system, use environmentally friendly household products and cleaners, and practice water conservation. Contact the Sherburne County Extension Office for programs and literature on maintaining your septic system.

In the City of Elk River, whenever a property changes hands or a building permit is issued for any reason, the septic system must be surveyed by an inspector from the Building and Zoning department.

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Geese. Canada geese in the past were hunted almost into extinction. They are a migratory bird and are a protected species. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduction program has perhaps been too successful and another problem has appeared -- goose feces. A goose defecates approximately 2 lbs. per day.

Canada geese love short grasses near water--it is their preferred environment. For long-term solutions, make your yard unattractive for them to come back to. Otherwise, they are virtually certain to return. (Note: Killing the birds or destroying nests or eggs are prohibited by law without special permits.)

Landscaping is the best way to deter geese (see buffer strips). They dislike shrubs and like easy, unfettered access to their food supply and water.

Other Methods to Deter Geese. These do not have the multiple benefits of buffer strips. Some are temporary only, and could be used while constructing a more permanent barrier. (Note: This list is not meant to be comprehensive.)
  • Hazing. Chasing geese repeatedly or making noise will sometimes cause them to relocate.
  • Bird scare tape. Used as a short-term measure, a fence made of this 1/2" reflective mylar tape reflects and rattles, scaring the geese. The tape is available from places such as Lyndale Garden Centers or the Wild Bird Stores.
  • Barrier fencing, with small enough openings that geese cannot pass through, and long enough so they don't walk around them is very effective. Check with the Building and Zoning office before you construct a fence.
  • Energized fencing actually gives the goose a small shock. An easily removed fence is available from Lake Restorations in Rogers, 763-428-1537.
  • Scare eye balloons or flags, for large fields.
  • Repellents. Repellents must be reapplied after it rains and after mowing, so are the least effective way to deter geese.
  • Please note that hunting is not allowed in the City of Elk River except in specific designated areas.

For more information about geese, contact the Department of Natural Resources.

Pets. There is both a leashing law and cleanup law in Elk River. Please clean up after your animal not only on walks, roads, and in parks but in your own yard to help prevent any matter getting into the ditch system and ending up in the lake.

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Please note that counts from previous years are for coliform bacteria, not Ecoli.

  • Fecal counts for 2017
  • Fecal counts for 2016
  • Fecal counts for 2015
  • Fecal counts for 2014
  • Fecal counts for 2013
  • Fecal counts for 2012
  • Fecal counts for 2011
  • Fecal counts for 2010
  • Fecal counts for 2009
  • Fecal counts for 2008
  • Fecal counts for 2007
  • Fecal counts for 2006
  • Fecal counts for 2005
  • Fecal counts for 2004
  • Fecal counts for 2003

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