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Worcester/Shrewsbury Alert Public of Contaminated Lake

Worcester, MA (September 8, 2011) - As a result of Thursday morning’s heavy rains, a bypass of two sewer pump stations has resulted in bacteria levels exceeding acceptable water quality standards south of the Route 9 Bridge at Lake Quinsigamond. To protect the public’s health and the environment, Public Health officials from the City of Worcester and the Town of Shrewsbury are advising area residents not utilize this section of Lake Quinsigamond for recreational purposes such as fishing, boating and bathing. Public Health officials will continue to monitor and sample the affected area to ensure bathing water quality.

The contamination was a result of a Sewer Pump Station bypass on Whilter Drive Station and Lake Ave Station. Bacteria and chemicals from the bypass can increase the risk of getting sick from swallowing the water or eating the fish. Public Health recommends that people not go in the water near this area for 48 hours after a bypass.

"Illness may occur if contaminated water is consumed, while exposure to eyes, mucous membranes and open wounds may also cause infection," said Derek Brindisi, Director of Public Health. "The bacteria in untreated sewage poses a higher risk to highly susceptible groups such as children, elderly or immune compromised."

Animals are usually not affected, but if your pet does go in the water during/after a bypass, be sure to give it a good bath as soon as possible. If your pet is very young or old, it could be at higher risk. If your animal develops diarrhea, you should withhold food and consult your veterinarian.

Public Health recommends that people do not go in the water near this area for 48 hours.

For more advice and information on the city water quality, please contact the Division of Public Health at (508) 799-8531.

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