Plug Pond. (Courtesy photograph by Vincent Ouellette.)
As the Fourth of July weekend kicks off, a popular cooling off spot is closed—at least for today—because of bacteria levels.
Haverhill Recreation Director Vincent Ouellette told WHAV he believes heavy rains Tuesday probably caused E. coli bacteria levels to rise at Plug Pond, a common occurrence after such storms. With temperatures expected to be in the 80s all weekend, according to WHAV’s Wave Weather, the timing couldn’t be worse.
“The timing is not the greatest with the long weekend coming up. But precautions we have in place require the closing. Thankfully, we do the testing and stop it before someone getting sick.,” Ouellette said. He explained testing is done weekly by G&L Laboratories. This week’s levels were 556 parts per million, but the limit is 535 parts per million, he explained.
“Our pond is always very good,” he said.
If the problem is simply the heavy rains this week washing into the pond, Ouellette said, it could be clear today. A new bacteria sample was taken this morning and the results will not be known for 24 hours. If the coast is clear, signs posted at the park will be taken down Saturday.
In a worst-case scenario, water cannons will be set up at Riverside Park over the weekend to help residents keep cool, Ouellette told WHAV.
He advised residents to swim only in waterways that are staffed.