Town officials have reopened Highland Lake Beach in Bridgton a day after it was closed because of high E. coli counts.

Test results received Wednesday morning from the Paris Utility District indicated the E. coli count in the water was well below acceptable limits, so the beach was reopened to swimming, town officials said in a media release. The high count was likely caused by water fowl or low water levels, according to town officials.

“We were made aware of this issue by our routine water testing and we will continue to monitor our public beaches on a regular basis (until) Labor Day to keep them safe for public use,” the release said.

Escherichia coli, abbreviated as E. coli, are bacteria found in the environment, foods and intestines of people and animals. Some strains are harmless, but others can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness or pneumonia, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tuesday was the second time in a month that Bridgton officials had to temporarily close a beach to swimming.

On July 6, the town closed Woods Pond Beach for four days when nearly 100 people became sick with norovirus after swimming at the beach or coming into contact with someone who did. Multiple people had contacted the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, saying they became ill with gastrointestinal symptoms after visiting the beach earlier that week.

Water from the pond and the sinks in the public bathroom was tested July 9. The beach reopened the next day after tests showed the swim area had E. coli levels within acceptable limits. The water from the bathroom taps failed the test, however, and the town planned to remove those sinks.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: grahamgillian

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