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Bacteria leads to swimming bans at some state lakes, ponds

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 03. 2014 6:34PM

The head of parks for the state of New Hampshire said he and park managers are discussing strategies about how to reduce contamination at park beaches, after bacteria levels prompted a no-swimming advisory at Mount Sunapee State Park this weekend.

The lakefront beach closed on Saturday for the first time since 2006, according to information available from the state Department of Environmental Services website. DES monitors the water quality of beaches across the state; as of Sunday, six beaches were closed.

One — Silver Lake State Park in Hollis — advised against swimming for the third time this season on Tuesday, after blue-green algae was detected there.

At Sunapee on Sunday, park managers waived the $5-per-adult admission fee. Visitors were allowed on the sand and picnic areas, and kayaks were available for rent.

“It seems like it’s been a tougher year,” said Philip Bryce, director of the state Division of Parks. “If this continues, we have to do something so people can enjoy the water.”

Bryce said he’s started a conversation with his management team about how to address water contamination. Options include aerating the water and even piping water from other areas in a lake to the beach, he said.

Bryce said warmer summer water, especially in shallow areas, is susceptible to contamination. Water fowl such as ducks or geese can also cause contamination.

According to the DES, the other advisories in effect as of Sunday were:

• Otter Brook dam in Keene, since July 3 for fecal bacteria.

• Oternic Pond in Hudson, since Friday, for cynobacteria.

• Bartlett Beach on Lake Winnisquam in Laconia, since July 23, for fecal bacteria.

• Center Harbor town beach, since Saturday, for fecal bacteria.

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