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Water Report: High Bacteria at Fort Pond

Fri, 07/05/2024 - 15:40

Concerned Citizens of Montauk on Tuesday warned people to avoid recreational activity in Montauk's Fort Pond this week. 

In its weekly water quality report on Tuesday, the group said testing at Fort Pond showed extremely high levels of the enterococcus bacteria there. The bacteria, typically found in the intestines of humans and animals "are often used as indicators of water contamination, particularly by fecal matter," C.C.O.M. said. 

The group conducts testing for enterococcus at spots in Montauk, Amagansett, East Hampton, and Springs with the Surfrider Foundation Eastern Long Island Chapter and the Peconic Baykeeper. The federal Environmental Protection Agency considers recreational waters unsafe if the enterococcus bacteria levels exceed 104 CFU for marine water bodies and 61 CFU for freshwater bodies. The level at a boat ramp on the southeast side of the Fort Pond was 441. 

Additionally, there was a decline in Fort Pond's dissolved oxygen levels on Monday night, which may indicate pollution or a potential harmful algal bloom. C.C.O.M. continues to partner with Stony Brook University's Gobler Laboratory to monitor for blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, blooms. 

Elsewhere, Concerned Citizens of Montauk reported that bacteria levels were down slightly from last week’s testing results. However, the overall levels are still high due to the rainfall that occurred on June 30 and July 1, as well as the elevated air temperatures. 

In all, eight testing locations between East Hampton and Montauk registered high levels of enterococcus bacteria. In Montauk, these include East Creek at Lake Montauk, where the level was 4,884; the Benson Drive culvert at Lake Montauk, where it was 5,475; the outfall pipe at Surfside Place (110), West Creek at Lake Montauk (187), the Industrial Road side of Fort Pond (145), and the Surfside Place outfall pipe (110). In Springs, a sample at the boat ramp at Shipyard Lane on Accabonac Harbor had a level of 164, and in East Hampton, the level was 168 at a culvert at Northwest Creek. 

Any of the aforementioned water bodies that registered as high bacteria each pose health risks that increase the possibility of gastrointestinal illness and other infections. Concerned Citizens of Montauk advises against activities that involve direct water contact and says people should avoid consumption of water that has registered at these unsafe levels. 


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