Swimming area in Rocky Neck closed for weekend due to high bacteria

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EAST LYME –  The swimming areas at Rocky Neck State Park are closed this weekend due to high levels of bacteria in the water.

DEEP conducted their weekly water quality test and unsafe levels of bacteria were found.   Signs have been posted by the entrance notifying visitors of the closure.

The DEEP explained to FOX61 the water samples were taken along the beach area used for swimming.

"We believe the flow of water from the marsh known as Brides Brook, at edge of the park, has a significant influence on waters in that area," Dennis Schain, spokesperson for the DEEP said.  He added the department can only speak to Rocky Neck, because they are only responsible for testing state park waters, but that given the location of the marsh it could be a localized phenomena.

“It’s the campfire and the s’mores and everything else, bike riding, we’ll figure something out!” said Chris Amon, of Glastonbury, who's made camping on the Rocky Neck grounds an annual tradition for decades.

Others like Shauna Young who traveled all the way from Morrisville, Vermont had hopes to go swimming, so the announcement came as an unwelcome surprise.

“I was a little upset. We came in and saw the signs right at the entrance and then when we checked in, they told us that the beach is closed down due to high bacteria count, so that’s a little scary. We’ll stay out of the water, hope to play in the sand a little bit,” said Young.

The camp grounds and picnic areas of the park are still open to the public.

Young said she was told by park officials this is not the first time this has happened.  She  added, she and her children have plenty of activities outside of swimming planned to make their trip worthwhile.

“Lots of biking! Lots of biking. Probably some campfires,” added Young.

The water at Rocky Neck will be retested Monday and the results will be available Tuesday morning, said DEEP.  The swim area at the park may be reopened Tuesday if the results show bacteria counts have dropped to safe levels.

DEEP said samples from these swimming areas are analyzed at a Department of Public Health lab. Samples are analyzed for indicator bacteria, which are not disease causing pathogens, but are one of the tools used by public health and environmental protection officials to evaluate the potential contamination of water bodies.

DEEP's weekly water quality tests from several other state park beaches were also taken this week.  These test results showed the water was safe for swimming at the following parks:

  • Wharton Brook, Wallingford
  • Silver Sands, Milford
  • Sherwood Island, Westport
  • Kettletown, Southbury
  • Indian Well, Shelton
  • Day Pond, Colchester
  • Hammonasset, Madison
  • Chatfield Hollow, Killingworth
  • Cockaponset State Forest , Chester
  • Wadsworth Falls, Middletown