Falmouth Beach Reopens After Water Quality Issues

FALMOUTH – Chapoquoit Beach in West Falmouth was recently closed to swimming after harmful bacteria was detected in the water.

The beach has since reopened for swimming, with the town’s Beach Department posting an update on Saturday, July 23 that recent testing showed it was safe for people to enter the water again.

Falmouth Beach Superintendent Maggie Clayton noted the Barnstable County’s Beach Monitoring Program tests weekly for two types of bacteria.

“In marine water it’s the Enterococci bacteria and this can occur because of storm runoff or animal waste from pets or wild animals,” Clayton said.

She added when the bacteria levels are in exceedance, swimming in the water is determined as a danger to public health.

Falmouth was notified of the levels on Wednesday night, July 20, leading to the closure the following two days.  

Clayton said it takes 24 hours to determine if the water sample has met or exceeded bacteria limits in a video shared by Falmouth Community Television on Friday, July 22 while the town was still awaiting results from the county.

During the swimming closure, the beach was still open for those who wanted to stay on the sand.

Clayton added some people chose to swim at their own risk even though beach staff had notified them of the possible health hazards.

The superintendent said when the bacteria is in exceedance it can cause flu-like symptoms or a rash depending on a person’s interaction with it.   

“We do not recommend swimming at any beach that fails until we get the notification from the county that the test is back within single count limits,” Clayton said.

The town reopened the beach for swimming on Saturday, July 23 after the most recent test indicated low levels of the bacteria.

The reopening came as people headed for the Cape’s beaches with temperatures rising over the weekend, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory in Massachusetts.

The Falmouth Enterprise reported that five Falmouth beaches failed recent water quality tests due to high counts of Enterococci, which signifies fecal contamination.

Clayton added the public can check the Barnstable County website to look at water quality test results at any beach throughout the Cape.

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy