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Sandhills beach remains closed, Minot and Egypt reopen for swimming

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  September 2, 2011 11:01 AM

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Minot and Egypt beaches will be reopened to swimming today, after new tests showed acceptable levels of bacteria, yet Sandhills will remain closed.

According to the town’s website, Sandhills will be closed with a count of 1,333 bacteria colonies per 100 milliliters of water, making the beach's fifth closing this summer.

The latest closing began Tuesday, after testing showed a count of 496. Sandhills also was closed for three days the week of July 12 with a 960 count; two days the week of Aug. 2 with 350; two days the week of Aug. 9 with 265; and one day the week of Aug. 16 with 2,723.

No beach has ever been closed that frequently, according to records available online, and beaches have never had levels at those numbers. The town closes a beach whenever the count exceeds 104.

The last time numbers were that high was in 2003, when Humarock was closed with a level of 410 bacteria/100ml.

Officials are still unsure what the cause of the recent sky-high numbers may be, but it’s possible Hurricane Irene had something to do with it, epartment of Health Director Jennifer Sullivan said.

Whatever the cause, officials will continue conducting a series of environmental tests at Sandhills to make sure there is no underlying cause to the high levels.

For the rest of Scituate beaches, there will be no additional tests performed this year.

Although residents should use caution when swimming, Sullivan said that the tides change twice a day, and bacteria levels can alter within that time frame.

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