NARRAGANSETT- The Department of Health has stated that the Narragansett Town Beach has been closed for swimming due to high bacteria counts found after tests were made to the water, Wednesday June 12.
According to the public information officer for the Rhode Island Department of Health Dara Chadwick, this is the first time since the Beach Monitoring Program began in 1998 that the health department has recommended a full closure to swimming of Narragansett Town Beach. Parts of the beach have p been designated unsuitable for swimming due to high bacteria counts in the past but typically, lifeguards would rope the closed sections off.
Chadwick also said that the HEALTH department’s Beach Monitoring Program goes out to test beaches each day, but not the same beach every day. Narragansett is typically tested monthly and staff found enterococci bacteria during the testing yesterday. Chadwick stated that this bacteria is common to occur after rain storms and can sometimes be caused by pet waste.
“This is very common to be found typically after a rain storm, we have had so much rain that this was expected. And you can see that it is common because we are not the only beach closed,” said Chadwick. “Staff will go back out to re-test within days to lift the closure recommendation as quickly as possible. “
As Chadwick stated, Narragansett Town Beach is not the only one that has been affected by the high bacteria counts. Other beaches that have been marked unsuitable for swimming include North Kingstown Town Beach, Oakland Beach, City Park Beach, and Barrington Town Beach.
Chadwick stated that the Narragansett Town Beach is still open to the public for walking but is closed for swimming until further testing. She also said that if ingested, the water could cause gastrointestinal illnesses.
Narragansett Town Beach Manager Scott Hassell also stated than an independent lab will be retesting the water today. He said that safety precautions are being made such as posting warning signs on the gates of the beach and will also have beach staff available for monitoring of the area.
“We will have the lab come today and we have cautioned the public to not swim. In situations like this that is all you can do,” said Hassell. “We hope the beach will be open for the nice weather this weekend and we will know after the testing from the lab.”
Hassell stated that members of the public are able to receive information updates regarding the beach status by calling 401-222-2751.