Water advisory issued for two county beaches

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - If you're going to the beach anytime soon, you'd better pack your own water along with your swimming trunks and sunscreen.

AMHERST - If you're going to the beach anytime soon, you'd better pack your own water along with your swimming trunks and sunscreen.

Two popular Cumberland County beaches are under boil advisories after regular testing of drinking water at Heather Beach and Gulf Shore Provincial Park showed higher than normal levels of coliform bacteria.

"We've shut the water off at both locations. That's what we do anytime we have failures," Mike MacDonald of the Department of Natural Resources' Oxford district office said Tuesday.

The two beaches are among six advisories in the county, one of which - the Canadian Salt Company in Pugwash - was lifted on July 7. Other advisories, posted on the Environment Department's website, are at Sutherlands Lake Trail Groomers Association in Westchester, the Old Shipyard Beach Campground in Spencer's Island and the Department of Natural Resources district office in Parrsboro.

MacDonald said the problem at Gulf Shore is related to the breakdown of a submersible pump. A new pump has been put in and it's expected the all clear will be given within a week. Heather Beach is another story.

"We're not quite sure what the problem is there. There's a long history of failures there," he said, adding it's likely cottagers in the area are also experiencing problems with their water. "It's something that's going to take time."

While many only test their water once a season, MacDonald said the department is proactive by regularly testing public drinking water to ensure safety.

Tim Upham of the Environment Department's Amherst office said it's not uncommon for coliform counts to rise in certain areas and said it could be related to the kind of well as well as weather conditions.

"All the cases are total coliform related. If was e-Coli it would be a completely different kind of advisory, but that's not the case here," Upham said. "In these cases it could be anything from decaying vegetation to a heavy rain. It could be anything, but they're working on it and doing what they're supposed to be doing."



dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Environment Department, Canadian Salt Company Sutherlands Lake Trail Groomers Association

Geographic location: AMHERST, Cumberland County, Gulf Shore Provincial Park Oxford Pugwash Westchester Parrsboro

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