Two popular Amherst swimming spots shut over E. coli

  • —GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/20/2021 3:28:47 PM

AMHERST — High levels of E. coli bacteria at two of the town’s popular swimming holes, including Puffer’s Pond in North Amherst, will keep the sites closed for the next week.

Already, town officials had warned swimmers to stay out of Puffer’s Pond due to the recent wet weather that has swelled the pond’s level and created muddy conditions, and to also avoid taking dips in rivers and streams that are running significantly higher than normal.

The weekly test samples done at both the State Street and Summer Street sides at Puffer’s, and at the Wentworth Conservation Area on Fort River on Stanley Street, showed bacteria levels that far exceeded state limits, said Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek.

“Now we have two layers of concern,” Ziomek said.

The thunderstorms and heavy rains in recent days increased the likelihood of the high bacteria counts, Ziomek said.

Amherst officials are following both the town Health Department and state Department of Public Health guidelines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although some strains of E. coli are harmless, others can cause sickness such as diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, pneumonia and other illnesses.

Ziomek reminds residents that the Mill River and War Memorial pools are open daily, along with the wading pool at Mill River and the spray park at Groff Park.

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


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