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What’s making the sand dark and stinky? Officials close part of Cohasset beach while they investigate.

That portion of the beach also shows a higher level of bacteria, town officials said.

Beach Bacteria:

Smelly, discolored sand has temporarily closed a portion of a Cohasset beach as authorities investigate the source of the stench.

The north end of Sandy Beach was closed to the public as of 6 p.m. Wednesday night, according to the town. The town’s health department and department of public works is working to determine why there is “discolored, dark sand, and a strong odor.”

In an alert to the town, authorities noted that weekly water tests for the beach have “come back clean,” but the area in question has shown “high levels of bacteria.”

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“Beginning on Thursday, July 29th the Town will be digging in and around the area to determine the source of the problem,” the town said. “As soon as the source is identified, steps can be taken to address it and reopen that part of the beach to the public.”

This isn’t the first time this summer that something, or perhaps some things, unwanted have turned up on a New England beach. In June, a man walked Wells Beach in Maine only to find his feet had been dyed black by a substance that had washed up on the sand. Turns out, after a retired oceanographer put a sample of it beneath her microscope, it was “clearly little bugs.”

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