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Herb Hartman, Deputy Director, Bureau of Parks and Lands, 287-4961
Geoff Beckett, Assistant State Epidemiologist 287-5301
Augusta, Maine - (August 15, 2002) The Department of Conservation is again advising visitors to Damariscotta Lake State Park that the beach may be unsafe for swimming at this time. Test results received today of beach water samples taken Wednesday, August 14th, have shown that levels of E. coli bacteria have risen above acceptable EPA limits. Because of these test results, the department has consulted with the DHS Bureau of Health and is posting the beach as possibly unsafe for swimming, until further notice. Ongoing evaluation of conditions at the beach continues. The Advisory will be lifted when the department can assure that water conditions do not present a risk to health.
Since the summer of 2001, an interagency Task Force on Healthy Swimming has examined ways in which the risk of illnesses associated with swimming can be further decreased. The Department requests the cooperation of visitors with certain simple measures that may help to reduce risk: avoid swimming while ill; avoid changing diapers on beachfronts; ensure frequent bathroom breaks for young children who are swimming; discourage children from swallowing swimming water, and to shower or wash (and to wash infants and children) before swimming. In addition, routine testing of recreational swimming water for levels of certain bacteria may help to identify potential problem areas.
A list of the principles of Healthy Swimming can be obtained at
Further information from the Maine Task Force can be found at: ;http://www.maine.gov/dep/blwq/beach.htm;.
The Department of Conservation will continue to evaluate this situation on a day-by-day basis in consultation with the Bureau of Health and inform the public when conditions are again judged safe for swimming.
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