Concerned Citizens of Montauk released its latest round of water testing results on Thursday, indicating potentially harmful levels of the bacteria enterococcus in many of the water bodies that the group monitors, even before the heavy rains that followed the June 24 sampling.
The results are part of a larger C.C.O.M. initiative to regularly test water bodies in Montauk, Amagansett, and East Hampton for traces of entero, which is considered a risk to human health when found at levels of 104 and above. The samples, taken the morning of June 24, were processed in the C.C.O.M. office lab, and shared with the Surfrider Foundation's Blue Water Task Force's online portal.
C.C.O.M. is also teaming up with Gobler Lab at Stony Brook Southampton to monitor Fort Pond for harmful blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. The organization samples for cyanobacteria at two locations in Fort Pond, by a town boat ramp on the southern part of the pond and at the northern end off of Industrial Road. The June 24 morning testing found no harmful levels of the blue-green algae at either location.
When testing for entero occurences, last week's results showed medium to high bacteria levels at 9 of the 25 sites tested. High bacteria levels were found at two locations in Lake Montauk and medium levels at one location. High entero levels were also detected at the head of Three Mile Harbor, Pussy's Pond in Springs, and the outfall pipe at Surfside Place in Montauk.
Medium levels of bacteria were mainly found in the east end of Napeague Harbor, the culvert side of Northwest Creek, and at the Methodist Lane swale in East Hampton.
"It is crucial to keep in mind that large amounts of rain followed by warm, sunny days create ideal conditions for the proliferation of both bacteria and algae," Kate Rossi-Snook, an environmental advocate with C.C.O.M., said in an email. She cautioned people to avoid more densely populated areas and enclosed water for a couple days after heavy rain.
The next samples were to be taken on Monday. The group will test the waters in monitors every week for the rest of the summer.