E. coli closes public beach at Crystal Lake again
Timothy M. Soucy, public health director, said a routine water sample taken Monday indicated high levels of the bacteria. Tests taken at the beaches at nearby Melody Pines Day Camp, 510 Corning Road, were OK.
According to the EPA, E. coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria commonly found in the intestines of animals and humans. E. coli is short for Escherichia coli. The presence of E. coli in water is a strong indication of recent sewage or animal waste contamination. Sewage may contain many types of disease-causing organisms.
Soucy said health officials do not know what is causing the elevated levels at the public beach. It could be because of "bather load" or waste from ducks.
He said the lake is a small body of water that is not spring fed, making it relatively stagnant. Melody Pines, he explained, could be unaffected because the lake is deeper in that area.
What might have factored into the high levels last week, when the beach was closed to swimmers for two days, were heavy rains causing runoff into the lake, Soucy said. During rainfalls, snow melts, or other types of precipitation, E. coli may be washed into creeks, rivers, streams, lakes, or ground water, according to the EPA.
In the past five to 10 years, Soucy said, the city made great efforts to get all of the residences around the lake tied into the sewage system, eliminating the need for septic systems, which previously caused problems when they failed.
The Health Department will be re-sampling the area Tuesday, with the results expected to be available Wednesday.
Once the E.coli levels are found to be acceptable, the public beach will reopen for swimming.