NH News
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Sun July 28, 2013

Bacteria Advisory Lifted At Weirs Beach, But Source Of Contamination Remains Unknown

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Credit VTDarkStar / Flickr Creative Commons

 The Department of Environmental Services has lifted the fecal bacteria advisory on Weirs Beach in Laconia.  But advisories remain in place for Bartlett Beach and Opechee Cove. 

DES Beach Program Coordinator Sonya Carlson says contrary to earlier reports, there is no evidence right now that bacteria at the Weirs could be coming from so-called “sewage sludge.” Carlson points to water samples the EPA took there last year looking for traces of pharmaceuticals.

“After they’ve gone through the human body, they get changed a little bit.  And then, if those are there in a high amount, that’s an indication that this E-coli is coming from humans," Carlson says.  "But they didn’t find much at all, if any.  So, at least at the Weirs, it doesn’t seem like it’s human waste from some sort of processing.”

As for Bartlett Beach and Opechee Cove, Carlson suspects the abundant ducks and geese are contaminating the water.  On Friday, Laconia is bringing in E-coli sniffing dogs to pinpoint the source of this long-running contamination problem.  Carlson says it is unusual to see advisories at so many of the city’s beaches at once.  She says the rainy summer—and the subsequent runoff—have caused bacteria-related advisories to double across the state.