Puffer’s Pond reopens for swimming in Amherst 

  • Revelers play in the shallow water where Cushman Brook feeds into Puffer's Pond in North Amherst on Sunday, July 1, 2018. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 7/31/2019 11:46:05 AM

AMHERST — Swimmers can again enjoy taking a dip at Puffer’s Pond.

On Wednesday morning, the town announced on its website that the pond was reopened for swimming and the water quality was back to normal, more than a week after water samples showed higher than normal levels of E. coli bacteria.

Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek said Tuesday it remains unclear why the samples showed elevated levels of the bacteria, though the heavy rain on July 22 and 23 was a contributing factor.

Ziomek said the bacteria is not related to any nearby septic systems, and that there are no other issues on neighboring properties that would compromise the water quality.

Even though the town had put closed signs on the main beach off State Street and the north beach, near the parking area on Mill Street, Ziomek said some people continued to swim in the pond.

The town closed the pond based on guidelines from the Health Department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This marked the second time swimmers were advised not to use the pond this season. Puffer’s was previously closed June 25 through July 2.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although some strains of E. coli are harmless, others can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, pneumonia and other illnesses.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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