Water to be Retested at Wellfleet Beach Closed to Swimming Due to Bacteria

Wellfleet  Newcomb Hollow - Cahoon Hollow BeachesWELLFLEET – Water samples will be taken from Cahoon Hollow beach in Wellfleet again today to determine when the water can be re-opened to bathers.

It was closed until further notice over the weekend due to high levels of fecal coliform and total coliform.

A water sample tested on Tuesday by the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment failed, along with a retest taken on Friday.

“The causes of [the bacteria] are from mammal feces and it could be from ocean mammals or it could be from land-based mammals,” said Suzanne Grout Thomas, the Wellfleet beach administrator. “We don’t really know unless you do a DNA test on the specific mammal that is causing it.”

The feces from seals are likely to blame for the closure.

“We do have seaweed that floats in and out and traps seal feces so it could be a function of seaweed plus seals,” Grout Thomas said.

Quick, heavy rain storms in Wellfleet could have also contributed to the elevated bacteria levels.

“Traditionally, when it rains any kind of critter matter upland of the water will be washed down into the adjacent water,” she said. “Over the last few days, especially Friday, we had cells going over Wellfleet with short but intense rain storms.”

Water samples will be taken again today.

“The earliest we would know whether it could be reopened would be Tuesday,” Grout Thomas said.

All of the bathing beaches are tested weekly and Cahoon Hollow is the only beach in Wellfleet to fail.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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