Gloucester Creek Closes to Swimmers Over High Bacteria Levels

The closure of a creek bordering Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts, has led to confusion among beachgoers

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A creek in Gloucester, Massachusetts, is closed to swimming because of high bacteria levels.

The affected creek borders Good Harbor Beach, and it's hard for beachgoers to tell what parts of the water are safe. There are signs, but they are spread out and barely noticeable.

"We just came down and started swimming," said Craig Gentilotti, who brought his family down from Milford, New Hampshire. "Now I know why the lifeguard's yelling at us. Probably be good if they had more lifeguards. It seems like they give him a lot of responsibility."

"I was here a couple weeks ago, and we walked over and we saw signs," said Gail Phillips of Worcester. "My sister and I were like, 'Look at all the people coming across. What don't they get? Is what they are doing enough?' No. A fence, or you have to make larger signs, cause they are small."

There is also confusion about exactly how much of the creek is closed.

Debbie Menon of Wakefield said she was told, "From the bridge back further from the beach was closed for the bacteria."

But Rachael Belisle-Toler, Gloucester's assistant director of public health, says the entire creek is closed.

"Staying out of the creek in general until it meets the actual ocean would be my recommendation," she said. "We do sampling right over here, but I would say it's pretty safe to assume that the condition of the creek is pretty similar all the way down to the mouth of the water."

The city has hired an engineering firm to search for the source of the contamination and deal with it, and Belisle-Toler says it is close. In the meantime, City Councilor Jeff Worthley says public safety has to be paramount.

"Lifeguards should be guarding lives and telling people, stationed here on the bridge, telling every single person not to go in the water," Worthley said. "It's not safe."

Worthley says he has confidence in the health department, but that more needs to be done to keep people out of the creek until it's clear of bacteria.

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