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Government departments looking into bacteria problem at 2 beaches in region

On Aug. 13, the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service Office closed Port Maitland Beach and Mavillette Beach to swimmers for at least several days due to a high bacteria count.
Port Maitland Beach and Mavillette Beach have remained closed to swimmers since Aug. 13 due to a high bacteria count.

Port Maitland and Mavillette beaches have been closed to swimmers since Aug. 13

South West Nova Scotia -  The Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environment are investigating Port Maitland Beach and Mavillette Beach to find the cause of high bacterial levels.

Both beaches have been closed since Aug. 13 due to high levels of bacteria when tested by the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service Office (NSLS).

Testing is now being handled by the government departments.

Bruce Nunn, with media relations, said representatives were on site at both beaches on Aug. 24 to make observations, including using the province’s helicopter to look beyond the beach for potential causes.

“It is normal to find E. coli in fresh surface water and enterococci bacteria in salt water,” said Nunn.

“Such water is prone to human and to animal interactions that introduce bacteria and parasites.

“Weather conditions, rainfall, tidal action and other factors also influence water quality, so it is difficult to pinpoint the cause when there are elevated levels of bacteria.”

Nunn says high bacterial levels usually go back to normal in a fairly short period of time.

“In the case of Mavillette and Port Maitland Beach, this has not yet happened so we are looking into the situation,” he said.

The NSLS closed five salt water beaches in the province earlier this summer because of high bacteria counts. Three of them reopened (Heather Beach, Queensland Beach, Port Hood), but Port Maitland and Mavillette remained closed.

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