Enterococci bacteria, though not harmful themselves, indicate the presence of fecal contamination and potentially harmful bacteria in the water. These harmful bacteria are known to cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, ear infections, and fever in recreational swimmers. Young children and people with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible.
Many beaches around the country are monitored by private and government agencies to prevent public health risks of this kind, but the Shaw Institute's Blue Hill Research Center is the only organization that monitors beaches in the Blue Hill area. We provide this monitoring as a public service for free to the community since our area is too small to be monitored by government agencies.
We follow very stringent protocols from the Environmental Protection Agency and Maine Healthy Beaches for both sampling and processing of the bacteria samples. Due to the 24+ processing time for each sample weekly results are posted to our website, 24 to 48 hours after sampling. Any results that are higher than the EPA’s bacteria level threshold are also reported to the Blue Hill Town Hall.
The EPA advises that the maximum acceptable Enterococci bacteria count is 104 in any single sample of marine water at a designated beach area. The full description of the 1986 EPA Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria can be found here.
Five local beaches will be monitored from June 2019 to September 2019. You can find recent reports by clicking the link of the beach location you are interested in viewing below.
Beach Bacteria & Public Health:
Starting June 2019, Shaw Insitute has launched a pilot 2019 Public Health and Beach Water Quality Study on the Blue Hill Peninsula. In partnership with Northern Lights Blue Hill Hospital, we will monitor water quality at local recreational beaches to investigate potential links between beach bacteria and public health. For more information about the project, please refer to our FAQ page.
Weekly Reports 2019
2019 reports are organized by sampling location. Each report will be updated as new data is collected.
Blue Hill Town Park (June 14)
Carrying Place Beach (June 14)
Curtis Cove Beach (June 14)
KYC (June 14)
Peters Cove (June 14)
Weekly Reports 2018
Final monitoring report for 2018 by sampling location:
Weekly Reports 2017
Weekly Reports 2016