Please, whatever you do on your next visit to Good Harbor Beach, please do not go swimming in the Creek and please keep your kids out of the water. Even toe-dipping is not safe!
The City of Gloucester has been working very hard everyday to find the source of the raw sewage contamination. According to Board of Health Assistant Director Rachel Belisle-Toler, the City has hired an outside engineering firm and are fairly sure the source has been identified. Before they can say for certain, a specific type of rain storm is needed to confirm. When storm drains overflow is the optimal time time to ascertain the source.
The state of Massachusetts’s absolute limit for enterococci bacteria at beaches where people swim is104 CFUs (living colony forming individual bacteria) per 100 milliliters of water. Currently the level is at 14,000 CFUs or approximately 140 times the acceptable level.
From the EPA – Enterococci are indicators of the presence of fecal material in water and, therefore, of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. These pathogens can sicken swimmers and others who use rivers and streams for recreation or eat raw shellfish or fish.
The official name for the Creek is Saratoga Creek. When my kids were little, I never took them swimming at the Creek because it never smelled right to me. As recently as three years ago, there wasn’t any odor coming from the Creek and I let Charlotte swim there. Last year and this have been a different story. The stench was so bad last Sunday, it was almost unbearable. The nose knows!