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Water Report: Troubling Bacteria Levels in Montauk

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 13:06

Medium or high levels of the enterococcus bacteria were reported in 12 of the 20 water bodies tested by Concerned Citizens of Montauk last week. Tests of the Benson Drive Culvert on Lake Montauk, East Creek on Lake Montauk, and Fort Pond Bay off Tuthill Road showed extraordinarily high levels of bacteria.

Each week C.C.O.M. tests South Fork water bodies for the enterococcus bacteria, high levels of which can be harmful to human health. The group notes that any level over 104 is considered high.

Nearly two thirds of the water bodies tested in Montauk had harmful levels of bacteria, according to the group’s report for the week starting July 5. Medium or high levels were found in 10 of the 16 Montauk locations tested. The highest levels by a wide margin were at a site by Tuthill Road on Fort Pond Bay, which had bacteria concentrations of 24,196. The East Creek at Lake Montauk levels were 6,131, the Benson Drive culvert levels were 2,909, and a site by Navy Road at Fort Pond Bay had entero levels of 657. Five other water bodies had high levels: Fort Pond near Industrial Road (145), Tuthill Pond (173) the nature preserve beach on Lake Montauk (305), the Surfside Place outfall pipe (448), and West Creek on Lake Montauk (638).

The ramp at Fort Pond had medium levels of bacteria.

Consistent with last week’s testing, the levels at both sites tested on Fort Pond Bay were “uncharacteristically high,” wrote Kate Rossi-Snook of C.C.O.M. “We will keep a close eye on those sites and try to figure out what may be causing this elevation.”

The group did not test any Amagansett water bodies this week, and only four East Hampton water bodies were tested. Of these, the Shipyard Lane ramp at Accabonac Harbor had medium bacteria levels, and the General Store location, also on Accabonac Harbor, had high levels at 115. The remaining East Hampton water bodies all had low entero levels.

C.C.O.M. typically monitors for toxic blue-green algal, or cyanobacteria, blooms, but did not test any ponds this week.

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