Beach in Southwick closed again due to bacteria

The last day the beach will be open Aug. 24th

Photo courtesy: MGNonline
Photo courtesy: MGNonline

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WESTFIELD NEWS) – Southwick health director Thomas Fitzgerald has closed the town beach once again this week due to high levels of bacteria in the lake.

Fitzgerald said Tuesday’s tests showed levels greater than what is acceptable by the state and he was forced to shut down the beach and it remains closed until another test is authorized by the Park and Recreation Commission.

Park and Rec Commissioner Daniel Call said commissioners were authorizing another test Thursday. Fitzgerald said the test takes 24 hours. “People should call 569-1213 before heading to the beach to make sure it’s open,” said Call.

Southwick Town Beach (File photo by chief photographer Frederick Gore)
Southwick Town Beach (File photo by chief photographer Frederick Gore)

Fitzgerald said the problem stems from Canadian Geese, and measures to keep the geese off the beach are being considered for next year. “There are various ways to discourage the geese,” said Fitzgerald. “One way is with fake coyotes that blow in the breeze and scare the geese.”

“When there’s no one here, the geese come and they like the beach and grass and their waste creates the bacteria,” said Call. The geese also search for crumbs of food left behind during the day. Call said the Commission has a plan to try to curtail the problem.

“We’re going to try to use reflective fencing next year,” he said. “We will put it about four feet into the water and about four feet up onto the beach.”

The fencing would be put up after hours by beach staff and taken down in the morning. Call said the Commission would seek advice from an expert before making a purchase.

Call said the last day the beach will be open this season is this Sunday, Aug. 24. When the season is over, Call said improvements, including painting, will take place.

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