Officials want to study Weirs water quality
Last week, the beach was closed for three days, but reopened on Saturday in time for the Fourth of July holiday week.
The city is exploring the idea of obtaining a grant to study the watershed and to help locate the source of contamination, which has left the beach at Endicott Park closed to swimming periodically each July since 2009.
The state Department of Environmental Services routinely tests the water quality at this and several hundred other beaches across the state from May through September and has a state standard of 88 counts of E. coli per 100 milliliters of water.
In 2011, for example, it recorded studying the water at the beach 21 times and 40 times in 2010.
During 2010, the beach tested in excess of 400 counts per 100 milliliters nine times, according to state statistics, and has had to be closed on several occasions during the busiest part of the summer.
On June 26, the state's tests found levels at 200 counts per 100 milliliters and closed the beach for three days.
In an interview with the Laconia Daily Sun, Kevin Dunleavy, Laconia's director of recreation facilities, said some long-term solution needs to be found to deal with the water quality problems.
While the city has been able to put out port-a-potties for after hours use of the beach when the bathhouse is closed, it has had trouble with dog waste after park hours close.
The dogs are not allowed at the beach at all. But Dunleavy told the Sun that DES officials have said it may be more of a watershed problem and not specific to the beach environment.
Currently, the beach is open, but Ahearn State Beach in Laconia, on Lake Winnisquam, is closed because of high E. coli bacteria counts.
State officials said the problem with bacteria at beaches is often due to storm water runoff, ducks defecating in the water and high use of the beach by swimmers.
A grant would allow for a study to be conducted on what could be done to help improve the water quality in the long-term.
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