WELLFLEET — In my mind, it usually takes a full season of loosely diapered babies and after-hours pet activity to shut down the heavily trafficked ponds here. But at dusk last night, there stood the sign, posted right at the water’s edge of this seemingly pristine kettle pond where scores of children take swimming lessons each summer: a warning that swimming might make you sick.
It seems bacteria counts rose above safe levels here at popular Gull and neighboring Higgins pond, as well as The Sluiceway, the lovely, remote narrow waterway that connects the two freshwater ponds.
According to Susan Thomas, Wellfleet’s beach administrator, fecal contamination is the likely culprit, but not from humans. “Critter poop,” she says is probably to blame, due to runoff into the ponds from this week’s heavy rains.
Here’s the official word in an email from Hillary Greenberg, Wellfleet’s Health and Conservation Agent:
Sent: Thu, 14 Jul 2011 17:14:27 -0400
Subject: Gull Pond
Today we had to close Gull Pond and the Sluiceway to swimming because of an enterococci exceedence. The pond was resampled this afternoon and I expect results within 24 hours. I am not too hopeful that it will conform on a resample though based on the results from Higgins Pond this past week. Continue reading