Hampton Ponds beach to open, acceptable bacteria levels found

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – People will be able to swim in the Hampton Ponds, after not being able to due to high bacteria levels. Tests conducted on Monday showed high levels of e-coli bacteria.

The water was retested Wednesday, and the results came back with acceptable bacteria levels for swimming.

The freshwater pond is often the victim of storm runoff and animal contamination. Usually the bacteria level is only elevated for a short time. The water is routinely tested for E-coli bacteria.

People who went to the beach to cool off in Westfield were surprised to learn that they had to stay on dry land. A high level of e-coli bacteria kept people out of the water at Hampton Ponds State Park, on what would have been a perfect day to swim.

An electronic sign alerted visitors at the gate, and more signs were posted by the water’s edge, warning that swimming could cause illness.

The freshwater pond is often the victim of storm runoff and animal contamination, and wet weather makes it worse.

Forest and Park Supervisor Jacqulyn Gabriel told 22News that they re-test the water each week, and should be getting their new results back, either Thursday or Friday. Usually, the bacteria level is only elevated for a short time.

The elevated bacteria level did not stop people from sunbathing, picnicking, or fishing, however.

“I did plan on swimming, yeah, I’m here visiting my friend and we can’t go in the water. I know it’s a thing with e-coli. But I’m just going to enjoy the nice day,” said Melanie Scuddari, who is visiting from out of state.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation posts water quality reports for all the fresh and saltwater beaches that they maintain. Click here to check beach status reports.

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