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Teams monitor bacteria count at beaches around the state

The DEEP team monitors bacteria levels at 21 state beaches for signs of contamination

KILLINGWORTH, Conn. — It’s Water Safety Week at FOX61, as the state beaches get ready to see large crowds this Memorial Day Weekend, water testing crews are busy making sure the water is safe.

"We go out once a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day and start testing the beaches for what we call indicator bacteria," said Tracy Lizotte, an environmental analyst. 

Lizotte goes with her team to 21 designated beaches and swimming areas, taking water samples weekly and making sure each water site is free from those specific bacteria. 

"If it’s present, there’s usually other bacteria that can be harmful and that can cause you to have a stomach ache. If you swallowed the water it can make you sick," said Lizotte.

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One type of bacteria is Cyanobacteria, which has its classic warning signs. The water coloring of a lake or pond looks discolored. 

'In the late summer typically when the water warms up you could see a scum on the surface of the water, it could look like a green paint," said Lizotte. 

If that's found, no swimming is allowed, not only for children, but dogs too. 

"They love the water, they like to go in and drink it or lick the cells and when they’re done that’s where they're ingesting it and that’s where they get the toxins very quick," said Lizotte. 

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While the dog days of summer are the cause to some bacteria, other E. coli concerns stem from rain storms throughout the summer. 

"After a rainstorm, we typically see high bacteria levels and you don’t want to go swimming for about 24 to 48 hours after it rains," said Lizotte. 

All of the results of the water testing across the state is updated quickly on the state's website here.

Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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