OTISFIELD — Administrative Assistant Anne Pastore told selectmen Wednesday evening that that the town beach on Pleasant Lake will be closed until further notice because of E. coli bacteria in the water.

Pastore said she recently was notified by residents that children swimming in the lake were getting sick after getting out of the water.

“I did a water test, mailed it out overnight to the lab, and I got the results this morning,” Pastore said. “They told me, ‘Close the lake.’ Apparently, the E. coli numbers were very high, and they are supposed to be zero.”

She said she has heard about E. coli in other lakes around the state, including Bridgton, and has learned that it is “likely geese and ducks that are causing it.”

“Right now, the water is very low and we’re not getting a lot of rain, which is making things worse,” Pastore said. “Hopefully, with some of the rain and wind we’ve gotten lately, the numbers will be down.”

Pastore said the beach cannot be reopened until a test of the water shows that there is no longer any E. coli bacteria present.

“We’ll be testing it every day, in the morning, to see if the numbers go down,” Pastore said. “I didn’t realize that I was supposed to refrigerate the sample before sending it in the first time, so I’m hoping that the numbers were inflated the first time I tested it.”

Chairman Hal Ferguson said the town has notified surrounding towns, as well as the Seeds of Peace camp on Pleasant Lake, about the contaminated water. 

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Otisfield Board of Selectmen Chairman Hal Ferguson, left, and Selectman Rick Micklon talk Wednesday evening about the presence of E. coli at the Otisfield beach on Pleasant Lake. (Matthew Daigle/Sun Journal)


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