By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
UPDATE: The health advisory for Dean Park Pond was lifted, as of July 22.
SHREWSBURY — Town officials in Shrewsbury have asked residents and their pets to avoid contact with the water at Dean Park Pond and Gauch Park Pond after tests documented high levels of E. coli, according to town press releases.
This also includes fishing at both locations.
Dean Park Pond and Gauch Park Pond were closed until further notice as of July 19.
This came after Dean Park Pond and the Oak Island Boat Ramp were both closed on July 12. The boat ramp reopened three days later, on July 15 just as Gauch Park Pond was closed.
The high levels of E. coli were detected during the town’s “routine seasonal weekly water quality monitoring of select bodies of water in Shrewsbury,” according to the press release.
According to Health Department Principal Department Assistant Kerry Stockwell, the elevated levels are due to the recent rain.
“Dean Park has a stream that runs into the pond. When we receive these flash flood rains, it flushes into the pond,” said Superintendent of Public Facilities and Parks Angela Snell.
Snell said the possible contaminants included pet waste and phosphorus from fertilizer in nearby yards.
The town water and sewer department tests these areas on a weekly basis from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Snell said.
“Once the levels are in acceptable limits, then we will post a ‘lift’ on the Public Health Advisory,” Stockwell said.
Anyone with questions can contact the Shrewsbury Health Department at 508-841-8384.
This has happened before.
Last year, officials closed the Dean Park pond for 12 days between July 11 and July 23 due to elevated E. coli levels. Fishing was allowed to resume on that July 23 date.
That lasted just one week, though, as the pond was closed to all uses on July 30 after new tests again showed high levels of E. coli. That closure lasted until August 13, at which point officials once again re-opened the pond for fishing only.
That same day, officials closed Mill Pond, elsewhere in town, due to high levels of E. coli there.