High bacteria levels keep swimmers out of the water at some state parks

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MILFORD–On a beautiful pre-summer day like today, you’d expect lots of sun-worshippers at  the beach, and lots of swimmers in the Sound. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection tests the water at state beaches every week, and earlier this week the results showed higher-than-average levels of bacteria at Silver Sands Beach in Milford, Sherwood Island in Westport, Indian Well in Shelton and Kettletown in Southbury. And when the water tests positive for bacteria, the swimming flags go up.

The reason people can’t swim if the water isn’t clean enough is that the higher bacteria could lead to E. coli poisoning, which causes vomiting and nausea.

However, DEEP says not to worry because it isn’t uncommon for the bacteria level to rise after a rainfall, and in the last several days we’ve seen some big storms. The runoff from the rain flows towards the Sound, and as it runs along the land it absorbs the bacteria and dirt on the ground.

The state retested the water samples on Tuesday, and the results cleared Indian Well in Shelton and Kettletown in Southbury.

However, Sherwood Island and Silver Sands remain closed, and there isn’t a set date for the water to be retested, meaning it might not be until next week.

Also, Mashamoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret was added to the list of beaches at which you cannot swim. The water there will be retested on Thursday, and we will update you on the results.