AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The most recent reading of Lake Auburn's outlet beach shows levels of E. Coli higher than 1,000 parts per 100 mililiters: ten times recommended EPA levels.
It's not the first time such high levels of E. Coli have been recorded. Last summer, the city had to close the beach to public swimming several times because of bacteria.
Because the water so regularly failed water quality tests, City Councilor Josh Shea was stunned that he was the only city councilor advocating for the beach to be closed.
This spring, they voted to have the park open for July 2, and have the beach open for swimming based on regular water quality tests.
The problem, Shea said, was that the results took 24 hours -- so a family swimming on a Monday wouldn't know until Tuesday if they had been swimming in dangerous levels of E. Coli.
"This is a community meeting place," said Shea. "It means a lot to this community. I undestand romantic attachments to it -- but romantic attachments can't be more important than health concerns."
Shea pushed for an amendment to the Auburn City budget that would open the beach only after 30 days of clean testing.
"We shouldn't be condoning it if we know that the water quality is such that you could have a variety of bad reactions," said Clint Deschene, Auburn City Manager.
He said the city will be adding signs to the park with the latest water quality testing information, and providing that same information on the city's website.
Even though the park isn't supposed to be open until July 2 -- and testing shows high levels of E. Coli -- children were still able to get in and swim in the water Thursday morning.
They said the gate has been open -- and even when they've found it closed, they were able to sneak in and swim.