Contaminated waters could hinder beach adventures from York to Camden this Labor Day weekend.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has issued contamination warnings for five Maine beaches after finding elevated levels of fecal bacteria.

Children play in the shallow water at Willard Beach in May. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

The affected beaches are Willard Beach in South Portland, Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk, Cape Neddick Beach in York, and Laite Beach in Camden. Total beach closures are rare in Maine, and as of Friday night all five affected beaches remained open.

The presence of enterococci bacteria suggests water also may contain other harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites, according to the DEP’s Maine Healthy Beaches program, which tracks water quality at public beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Contact with contaminated water can cause flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal issues, rashes and infection.

Beachgoers are advised to avoid areas with contamination warnings.

Laite Beach in Camden, which had more than 26 times more fecal bacteria than the threshold deemed safe, was the most contaminated beach on Friday night, according to DEP data.

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