UPDATE: Little Harbor Beach re-opens

By Lydia Goerner | Aug 26, 2017
Photo by: Bill Whelan Officials closed Little Harbor Beach on Aug. 24 due to high bacteria levels. The beach will be retested on Aug. 25.

Public health officials have re-opened Little Harbor Beach in Wareham to swimming after high bacteria levels closed the beach on Aug. 24. The Wareham Department of Public Natural Resources reported that recently tested water samples have "come back good."

The beach was closed due to high levels of enterococci, a bacteria found in animal and human waste. Enterococci bacteria may cause urinary tract and abdominal infections.

Health Agent Robert Ethier said the high levels could be impacted by the large amount of seaweed on the wrack line at Little Harbor Beach. Bugs live there and birds gather to eat them. Since the bacteria is carried by "warm-blooded animals," these birds may be the culprit. Eventually the tide usually corrects the problem, Ethier said.

Wareham beaches are tested every Tuesday for bacteria during the summer, beginning on May 30 and ending Aug. 29.

There have been other incidents with high amounts of bacteria in the water this summer, Ethier said, but usually the water is back to normal within 24 hours. It is rare that the water has to be tested twice before being cleared for swimming.

For more information on testing, call the Wareham Board of Health at 508-291-3100 ext. 3197.

Comments (8)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 24, 2017 15:21

I find it intriguing that Little Harbor Beach can be the only beach with elevated levels of bacteria.  I trust the Town's testing...no, I'm not challenging.  It's just that Little Harbor Beach is further out in Buzzard's Bay, isn't densely populated, isn't in Wareham River, the water is cooler, it flushes more frequently, etc.  Compare it to Parkwood/Pinehurst.  Those are densely populated, warmer water, and in the Wareham River where we discharge our wastewater.  Seems much more likely to have elevated levels further up in the Wareham River.


Is shellfishing closed as well?

Posted by: bob | Aug 24, 2017 16:28

If this picture has just been taken,looks like the beach hasn't been cleaned of seaweed ...Or do the taxpayers have to bring a rake with them when they visit our beaches and rake up the seaweed and take it with them after they use the beach......

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 24, 2017 16:48

Maybe that heap of decomposing seaweed is incubating the bacteria from bird droppings.

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Aug 24, 2017 19:56

Hmm my guess Swifts Neck is Next .. Funny I saw the girl testing the water the other day . She was wearing these waders up to her hips but water she tested was ankle high and on the boat ramp where some Idiot has been cleaning his Stripers and leaving the heads and guts to rot . Notice I used the term stripers and not one striped. He cleans many of them so someone isn't playing by the rules ....

Posted by: noseyrich | Aug 25, 2017 08:56

If you happen to be digging quahogs at LH you will notice how hard the current runs out when the tide falls, I call it a super flush, and it comes back in pretty fast as well. If you loose your clam basket during the outgoing tide, you will never catch it unless you have a power boat.

I'm pretty sure the beach is closed for shellfish because they eat by filtering the water.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 25, 2017 12:08

I've also noticed that the water sample people don't go too deep or too far for their samples. The water at the boat ramp certainly isn't an ideal representation of the entire Swifts area.  It likely would show higher levels of bacteria and contamination due to fish cleaning guy and other concentrations of that take place there such as boat/vehicle fluids and even the occasional disposal of a torched car.


They test the water because of swimming and clamming.  Nobody swims or digs clams on top of the boat ramp.  Why test there?  Take samples from where people swim and clam.  Is that too logical?

Posted by: bob | Aug 25, 2017 12:26

WBTS,You said it...IS THAT LOGICAL,nope this is Wareham....

Posted by: greycat | Aug 26, 2017 12:16

This is little more than the standard PUBLIC HEALTH scam/scare/job justification nonsense.  Where are all the victims who were in the water BEFORE the testing was done?  Anybody show up at TOBEY?

Where were all the victims before sewerage, no  discharge zones, storm water remediation, cranberry bog runoff, and the days when transportation was done with horses?

Who set the "standards" for when something in the water causes an alleged health problem?  The same people that close the beaches?  It sounds like judge, jury and executioner all are the same entity.

Why are so many of us townies still alive after swimming, boating and eating the fish and shellfish?  

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