AUBURN — Residents next week will get a look at a health study of the city's Outlet Beach that found levels of fecal bacteria in the pond that were higher than expected.
City Manager Clinton Deschene said he expects councilors to take a second look at the report after a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, in the City Council chambers at Auburn Hall.
"I think at this point there will be a reassessment after this presentation so the council will know what kind of feedback was given," Deschene said. "From there, they'll figure something out."
The report was done by New Hampshire's Comprehensive Environmental Inc. for the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission and the city. It is based on water quality tests done at the pond between April 2005 and last summer.
It was commissioned after the pond was closed to swimming twice last summer because coliform bacteria was found in the water. The bacteria can cause minor skin and eye infections, gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory illness.
The study found the enterococci bacteria exceeded Environmental Protection Agency standards for freshwater recreation areas in 38 of 120 samples and E. coli bacteria levels that surpassed standards in 29 of 120 samples. Both are common bacteria in human and animal digestive systems.
A lack of fresh water may be to blame, according to the study. Because of the topography of the area, water runs in one direction — from Lake Auburn to the pond and into Bobbin Mill Brook.
Lake Auburn feeds the pond through a single, 25-foot-wide outlet spillway under Route 4. Fresh water follows an eight-foot-deep stream through the pond and runs out through a spillway into Bobbin Mill Brook under Fair Street.
The study recommended three options, ranging from spending up to $600,000 to dredge the pond and rebuild the beach area to decommissioning the area as a beach and a park.
"It would be very difficult to fund the full project," Deschene said. "But you have to remember, that's the all-in option. There are levels we could stop short of, and layers of work we can discuss."