The beach at Hood Pond is open again after closing for one day due to a fecal bacteria advisory by the state Department of Environmental Services (DES). Derry Parks and Recreation Director Eric Bodenrader said the advisory was given on Friday. The advisory was posted on Saturday and the waterfront, one of Derry’s public beaches, was closed Saturday and Sunday. The beach was closed Monday, the first day of the swimming lessons program, with the swimmers rerouted to Gallien’s Beach on Beaver Lake, Bodenrader said.
But as of Tuesday, July 9, “We are back up and running,” he said. Bodenrader said samples were collected and examined over the weekend, and the advisory lifted. It’s a common problem with any freshwater lake or pond, and the problem can be traced, simply, to ducks, he said. With the recent heat and the proliferation of waterfowl, fecal problems are “natural,” he said. But he added that the town followed DES protocol, and the pond is now safe.
According to a press release from DES, the sampling for “fecal bacteria” took place July 5 and the advisory was issued July 6. Samples were taken again July 8. According to the DES Web page, advisories are posted when sample analyses result in bacteria levels above the state standard, indicating the possible presence of disease-causing organisms, or a toxic cyanobacteria scum. These advisories are recommendations to the public to avoid water contact activities at the beach until further analyses reveal safe conditions.
At a freshwater beach, an advisory is posted if either two or more samples collected at a beach exceed the state standard of 88 counts of E. coli per 100 milliliters (ml) of water or when one sample exceeds 158 counts of E. coli per 100 ml of water.
At any beach, an advisory is posted if a potential toxin-producing cyanobacterial scum is present at the beach and cell dominance is greater than 50 percent of the sample total cell count.
At a coastal beach, an advisory is posted if either two or more samples taken at a beach exceed the state standard of 104 counts of Enterococci per 100 ml of water OR when one sample exceeds 178 counts of Enterococci per 100 mL of water.
The advisory page states, “DES works cooperatively with municipalities, state departments or beach managers to post these advisories. Beach managers may use their own discretion to actively close a beach to the public. They may place barriers at the entrances or post signs indicating the closure. The municipality must notify the Beach Program of their intentions to close a particular beach.”
The Beach Program follows up on advisories by resampling all beaches. Once it has been determined that the bacteria concentration is within the state standard, the advisory signs will be removed from the beach area.
For more information, visit www.des.nh.gov.