Swimming Concerns After Hurricane Irene

State officials say there may be high levels of bacteria in coastal and sound-side waters. Hurricane Irene dumped several inches of rainfall, and the runoff could be funneling things that harbor bacteria into the water.

The bacteria levels could be high enough to make people sick.

The possible pollutants include waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, pet waste, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals.

People should avoid swimming near stormwater outfalls and inlets as these areas tend to have concentrated amounts of pollutants. There have already been reports of sanitary sewer malfunctions where sewage is overflowing manholes and lift stations. These overflows could potentially discharge into coastal waters.

The state will be testing the water for high bacteria. We will alert you to any issues in their testing locations.

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