What we measure is the amount of enterococci bacteria, which is present in the feces of human, animal, birds and dead ocean creatures and seaweed, in 100 millilitres of water. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency has set the standard for safe human use at 104 colony forming units (CFUs).
Below are the readings for this week:
Sea Point Beach 10 CFUs
Crescent Beach 5
Scuba Beach 5
Horn Point Beach 5 CFUs
Pier Beach 5
The Federal Environmental Protection Agency sets the standard for a safe beach
A story about Beach Testing in Kittery by Kittery Point Resident Page Mead
Five Kittery residents are working for The Maine Healthy Beaches Program, which was
started in the Spring of 2005.
Every Tuesday, residents Sally Soule, Brian Cox, Deb Martin and Alexandra Mead
collect water samples at: Sea Point Beach, Crescent Beach and the three beaches
at Fort Foster:Scuba Beach, Horn Point Beach and Pier Beach.
We put the test results in coolers where they are then picked up by the Courier from a testing lab in Kennebunk. Approximately 24 hours later, we get the testing results on the Maine Healthy Beaches website.
If any of the readings exceed the accepted bacteria level, one or more of us collect another sample at that beach only and transfer it to the courier for testing again. The next day we receive the results on the website. During this process we post a warning sign, either an orange “warning” sign immediately. If we get two bad readings in two days, we will post a beach closed sign.
Recently there were two negative articles on the quality on Maine beach water in the
Portsmouth Herald as well as other publications. Kittery Beaches were never mentioned in any of the them.
An Opinion Article:
In ten years of testing the water at these beaches, we have not had a reason to post a
beach closing. With the occasional beach warning signs posted, we have never had two bad readings in a row. Due to the randomness of the causes for a bad reading, five bad readings in a row would indicate a problem.
We don’t have a river near any beach and we don’t have residential septic systems near
any beach. Two probable sources of pollution.
Kittery’s economy has no connection to our beaches, so we are more than willing to
close our beaches at any time.
The Portsmouth Herald’s article states: Chances are you won’t find any Maine coastal town
bragging…” about it’s beaches. We are bragging!
Kittery Resident and Testing Volunteer