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E. Coli Forces Closure Of Beaches In Chelmsford, Holliston

By Diana Perez, WBZ-TV
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Freeman Lake Beach in Chelmsford has been closed due to high E. coli readings.

Freeman Lake Beach in Chelmsford has been closed due to high E. coli readings.

CHELMSFORD (CBS) – The destination for the Lavoie girls was Freeman Lake Beach in Chelmsford.

“We brought a whole bag of lunch and toys to dig in the sand,” says Susan Lavoie.

Then, they saw signs saying no one would be doing anything in the sand today.

A sample from the lake showed a high level of E. coli, forcing the city to close the beach. The number of bacteria colonies jumped from 90 to 400 in only a few days. A similar reading led to Holliston’s Pleasure Point Beach closing as well.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports.

Freeman Lake volunteer Santiago Rios says a closed beach is a bummer for the usual 200 swimmers who fill up the sand here.

“They don’t like it, they’re not happy. They enjoy it here so much,” Rios said.

Richard Day, Director of Public Health, was testing the water again on Wednesday. He says too much bacteria can cause ear infections, itchy skin and even digestive issues. So even though it’s hot his priority is swimmer safety, “It’s our job to make sure they’re healthy not just cool.”

And that’s fine by the Lavoie girls, who settled for a day on the monkey bars instead.

“The playground is a lot of fun just like the lake,” explains five-year-old Maggie Lavoie.

There’s more than one reason for the high level of E. coli. They include poor water circulation, high water temperatures and most importantly too many swimmers.

But Day says a few days of cool, wet weather could be the perfect combination to reduce the bacteria levels. Once those go down, the beach can reopen.

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