Silver Sands in Milford reopens after water bacteria concerns, officials say

Photo of Liz Hardaway
In this Nov. 8, 2019 file photo, the boardwalk at Silver Sands State Park in Milford. The swimming area at the state park reopened Wednesday, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

In this Nov. 8, 2019 file photo, the boardwalk at Silver Sands State Park in Milford. The swimming area at the state park reopened Wednesday, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

File photo by Arnold Gold /Hearst Connecticut Media / File photo by Arnold Gold /Hearst Connecticut Media

The swimming area at Silver Sands State Park in Milford has reopened, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middlefield remains closed. DEEP said it retested the water on Wednesday and expects to get results on Thursday.

The waterways closed after officials detected the presence of certain bacteria in samples. These bacteria — E. coli in freshwater and enterococci in saltwater — are not disease-causing pathogens, but they can indicate a potential fecal contamination from human sources or other warm-blooded animals, according to Tracy Lizotte, an environmental analyst with DEEP.

High levels of this bacteria can occur for different reasons, but Lizotte said one of the most common is due to stormwater runoff, which carries dog and other wildlife feces into the water. With heavy rain, the sewer system may not be able to handle the influx of water, causing untreated sewage going into waterways.

“At some of our beaches we have significant wildlife population such as geese that frequent our swimming areas that we believe cause the beach closures,” Lizotte added.