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Dozens of Beaches Remain Closed Across Massachusetts Due to Bacteria in Water

BOSTON – Almost a week after Massachusetts began closing beaches because of high levels of human waste some are slowly opening up. But experts say it’s a move that should have happened earlier.

Beaches closed after water tested for high levels of human waste, including several in the city of Boston. Mayor Michelle Wu is now calling on the state to do more.

WBZ TV spoke directly with Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Dr. Robert Goldstein, whose priority is the health and safety of swimmers at risk of infection.

“The danger is that people could get sick. Many could have a mild illness, something like nausea or vomiting, some people can have skin reactions, you can even get an eye or an ear infection but what we’re most concerned about are those who are really vulnerable. So the elderly, children, people who are immunocompromised,” said Goldstein.

Goldstein explained Massachusetts monitors more than 1,100 beaches, determining which ones need to be closed.

“We’re looking particularly for bacteria, two types of bacteria, enterococcus and E. Coli that are bacteria that are markers of contamination within the water. When those bacteria get to a high enough level, we then determine it’s not safe, it’s not healthy for people to use the water,” said Goldstein.

Experts said in part the timeline of water testing is what’s putting the public at risk.

“The challenge with the test, which is very accurate and very reliable, is it takes 24 hours to run it, incubate the actual bacteria in the sample and see how much is in the water,” said Chris Mancini, the executive director of Save the Harbor, Save the Bay.

“It rained late Monday, the state collected samples Tuesday morning. So by the time they put the flag up and got the test results on Wednesday, the water was probably clean but it had been dirty the day before when everything was open for swimming” said Mancini.

“Constitution Beach, where I’m standing now and has a red flag on it, is actually clean after a heavy rain. Wait at least 24 hours, if you want to be really safe 48 hours on some beaches. Get out there and use the beaches,” said Mancini.

Source : CBSNews