Highland Lake Beach in Bridgton has reopened after town officials were forced to close it twice in two weeks because of high levels of E. coli.

The popular public beach was closed to swimming Friday because of high bacteria levels, but was able to reopen Monday after tests showed levels of E. coli were within the acceptable range, according to town officials.

Tests results received Monday morning found the water’s E. coliform count was 41, well below the acceptable limit of 235, town officials said in an announcement posted on the town’s Facebook page.

The same beach was closed in late July after tests found high levels of E. coli. And prior to that closing of Highland Lake Beach, another beach in Bridgton, on Woods Pond, closed after several people who visited the beach reported getting sick. That outbreak was linked not to E. coli but to norovirus.

Although Bridgton town officials don’t know what is causing the increase in bacteria, local fowl such as geese are often at least partially to blame.

E. coli bacteria are commonly 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.

This summer has brought a number of beach closures related to high levels of bacteria. Last week, Wilkies Beach on Crystal Lake in Gray and a public beach on Messalonskee Lake in Oakland were closed after tests showed high levels of bacteria.

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