Damariscotta Lake has dangerously excessive ranges of E.coli micro organism, so swim at your personal threat.
A take a look at on Aug. 4 by the Midcoast Conservancy put the E.coli quantity at greater than 2,419.5 MPN per 100mL, which is roughly 12 occasions increased than the U.S. Environmental Safety Company’s really useful most threshold of 190 MPN, which stands for “most possible quantity.”
A take a look at on Thursday got here again decrease, but it surely was nonetheless above the EPA’s really useful threshold, Patricia Nease, senior watershed supervisor with the Midcoast Conservancy, stated.
Lakes in Maine have been experiencing excessive micro organism ranges over the previous a number of years. Nevertheless, it has largely been cyanobacteria — a form of blue-green algae that may be deadly to canine and make people sick.
The supply of the E.coli continues to be unknown, however the conservancy has despatched samples for testing, and outcomes can be again someday this week, Nease stated. The micro organism can come from a number of sources, together with people, waterfowl and livestock, however the excessive ranges of rainfall within the area currently has added to the danger, since runoff can carry contaminants into lakes.
Folks contaminated with E.coli can expertise diarrhea, vomiting and abdomen cramps for as much as seven days, in keeping with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Some extra uncommon kinds could cause respiratory diseases, urinary tract infections or bloodstream infections.
Nease stated it’s arduous to say how lengthy the elevated ranges of E.coli can be in Damariscotta Lake — since there are such a lot of elements that go into figuring out ranges of micro organism in open water, micro organism quantities can fluctuate each day. For now, swimming is at your personal threat, she stated.
“When recreationally swimming, there’s all the time form of an inherent threat related to swimming in open water,” Nease stated.
To mitigate the danger of E.coli an infection, the Midcoast Conservancy stated to keep away from swallowing lake water and swimming after heavy rainfall. To guard lakes in opposition to E.coli infections, be certain to not swim if you’re sick, bathe earlier than and after swimming, wash your fingers after utilizing the lavatory and altering diapers, and clear up pet waste inside the shoreland space.
Experiences of E.coli numbers for Damariscotta Lake have been regular previously, however cyanobacteria has develop into a seemingly common summer time prevalence. The Midcoast Conservancy reported excessive ranges of the micro organism within the lake in June, with earlier studies exhibiting outbreaks in 2020 and 2021.
Jules Walkup is a Report for America corps member. Further help for this reporting is offered by BDN readers.