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Heather Beach reopens to swimmers

Heather Beach near Port Howe was reopened to swimming early Monday after being closed for several days due to higher levels of bacteria.
Heather Beach near Port Howe was reopened to swimming early Monday after being closed for several days due to higher levels of bacteria. - Darrell Cole

Beach closed Aug. 11 due to higher levels of bacteria

PORT HOWE, N.S. —

A popular beach along the Northumberland Strait reopened early Monday after being closed for several days due to high bacteria counts in the water.

“Heather Beach was closed for swimming on Aug. 12 when routine water sampling results showed elevated bacteria levels. The beach reopened today when another round of testing showed the water is now safe for swimming,” Adele Poirier from the provincial Environment Department said in an email to the Amherst News.

It’s the second time in consecutive years the water was closed to swimmers. Last July, the water was restricted after the presence of higher than normal levels of enterococci bacteria. It was closed for five days.

“It is normal to find e.coli bacteria in fresh water and enterococci bacteria in salt water,” Poirier said Monday. “Such water is prone to human and animal interactions that introduce bacteria and parasites. Weather conditions, rainfall, tidal action, and other factors also influence water quality. While not common, it is not unusual for any beach to experience higher than acceptable bacteria levels given certain conditions.”

Approximately a dozen swimmers were in the water at Heather Beach on Monday afternoon.

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