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June 15, 2013

Plum Cove passes beach water test

Just two days after Plum Cove Beach was closed off for swimming due to bacteria levels that more than doubled state standards, the beach is once again open or swimming with nearly no trace of bacteria left, according to the latest test results.

Test results taken Thursday morning show the beach has less than 10 colony forming units. or living individuals, within 100 milliliters of water, according to Max Schenk, the city’s manager of Environmental Health Services.

Two days earlier, there were 218 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water, while the state Department of Public Health standard for a swimming beach is 104 living individuals per 100 milliliters.

”We’re all good,” said Max Schenk, the manager of Environmental Health Services.

The bacteria known as Enterococci, which can spur infections, was the cause of the closure earlier this week.

Schenk previously said storm water runoff, recent rain storms, possible combined sewer outflow as a cause of the spike.

Additionally, when storm surges kick up sediment and create movement on the ocean floor, it may release more Enterococci. Sewer runoff travels down the Merrimack River and past Newburyport where it flushes out around Cape Ann, Schenk previously told the Times.

Plum Cove beach was also closed for swimming in the summer of 2011 due to high bacteria levels.

Biomarine Labs, a Gloucester based water and seafood testing company, handles the water testing for Gloucester.

No other city beaches have been closed for swimming this year due to bacteria levels. However, beaches at West Manchester and Tuck’s Point had also been closed previously due to high bacteria levels.

Essex lake restriction

While restrictions were lifted in Gloucester Thursday, new ones were being put in place Friday in Essex.

For the first time in years, water levels in Chebacco Lake have reached dangerous levels because of the amount of rain, Police Cheif Peter Silva said. As a result, there is a no-wake restriction on the lake throughout the weekend.

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