Local beaches are open for swimming

  • Mac Callahan, who celebrated his first birthday on Thursday, July 4 and baptized at the Athol Congregational Church on Sunday, visited Lake Ellis Monday morning with his mother, Stormi Callahan (shown in the water with Mac), and his aunt Elli Knight. The sisters graduated from Athol High School in 2002 and 2003. Knight said she worked as a lifeguard for two summers at the lake approximately 10 years ago. Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

Staff Writer
Published: 7/8/2019 9:50:09 PM
Modified: 7/8/2019 9:50:05 PM

ATHOL – Swimmers seeking relief from the heat can rest assured that the waters at Silver Lake and Lake Ellis are safe, according to Health Agent Deborah Vondal. The weekly water testing for E. coli indicators has shown that the levels for both lakes are well below the limit. She said, “We’re in good shape right now.”

Vondal said if either of the lakes exceed the limit, the Board of Health must immediately notify the state and the public and close the beach, which occurred last August near the end of the season. She said a “perfect storm” of natural occurrences such as high temperatures can accelerate growth of E. coli, and rainstorms can stir things up to a “quirky, one-time” higher level.

Under Massachusetts regulations, public beaches are tested starting the week before opening day and continue through the season, typically until school starts up in September. Vondal said the two public beaches officially opened on June 17, which is formally done so with the state. Lifeguards are on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily from June through August, depending on funding and availability of qualified personnel.

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