Dog waste pollution closes park

ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- City officials in Rockland have decided to close one of their parks, because of high levels of E. coli bacteria.

Recent water tests by the Maine DEP showed very high levels of the bacteria in the water draining from Snow Marine Park in Rockland's South End. The park has been a popular place for local dog owners, and the city's pollution control director says the large amount of dog waste may be causing the E. coli problem.

So the park has now been closed, except for the boat launch ramp. Acting City Manager Tom Luttrell says parks and recreation staff went in with shovels and cleaned up the dog waste, then covered the grass with lime. Luttrell says they will do new water tests after the next rain storm and see if pollution levels are down.

If it works, the park will be re-opened to people, but no decision has been made about dogs.

At the same time, sewer crews are investigating E. coli contamination coming from another street in the neighborhood. The original DEP test showed levels were nearly as high in a pipe coming from that street. Luttrell said they will dig up parts of the street and see if they can find the source of that contamination, in case a broken pipe or some other hidden problem may be causing it.


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