Inkwell beach reopened to swimmers

Inkwell beach reopened to swimmers

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Inkwell Beach on Seaview Avenue in Oak Bluffs was reopened to swimming at 2 pm, Sept. 2.

The beach was closed Wednesday, Sept. 1 due to high levels of bacteria.

Dave Caron, chairman of the board of health confirmed the beach was reopened in a telephone call with The Times at approximately 3:40 pm, last Thursday.

Earlier that afternoon, a Times reporter saw swimmers in the water and no visible signs announcing a beach closure. Health agent Shirley Fauteux was not in her office when The Times called to confirm whether the closure had been lifted.

Throughout the Labor Day weekend and as of Tuesday the Oak Bluffs town website carried a notice that the popular beach was closed.

Mr. Caron has taken it upon himself to provide updates to The Times. Ms. Fauteux has been uncommunicative and uncooperative when contacted and asked to provide information about beach closures.

Mr. Caron first anounced the Inkwell Beach closure in a phone message left with The Times on Sept. 1. He said that water samples showed levels of enterococci bacteria that exceeded state standards.

The water samples at Inkwell Beach were 159 bacteria colonies per 100 milliliters of water. The state limit is 104 colonies per 100 milliliters of water.

Beach closings have been a regular occurrence along the Massachusetts coast this summer. Last week, Lambert’s Cove Beach in West Tisbury was closed to swimming for one day. During one busy August week, 33 beaches were closed to swimming, including several on Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), enterococci bacteria are an indicator organism that may mean water is contaminated by fecal coliform bacteria. High levels of bacteria can cause skin irritation, vomiting, or diarrhea.