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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  1. William S. Carr says

    The seal insanity is rather young on Cape Cod. Cahoons’ Hollow was the first beach closed. Head of the Meadow and most of Monomoy will be next. The problem is not just water quality and tons of feces, it is quality of life. What many knew as life on Cape Cod has already been eroded. There used to be robust recreational, sport fishing and commercial fishing on the Cape. Not any more. Someone (in government) thought seals were to cute.

    But one fishery is growing leaps and bounds. Great White Sharks.

    The Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla, CA has had a seal problem for over 30 years. I have included a link so you can see the future of Cape Cod. Dangerous levels of fecal coliform bacteria has been present permanently for over 30 years. The harbor seals and most of all the Sea Lions bite and attack not only children, but adults. The injuries are severe. They haven’t done anything about the seals, but they now have after a 25 year closure, put up a sign. “Swim at your own risk.” No one swims there anymore. The is no beach for the Children in most of SoCal.

    I would like to think were are less nutty than California, Seals will bite and hurt you and your kids.

    I don’t seals are that cute anymore.

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