A public beach on Crystal Lake in Gray has closed until further notice after high levels of bacteria were found.

Sarah Rodriguez, with the town’s parks and recreation department, said a weekly test of the water at Wilkies Beach on the southwest end of the lake came back with a high reading.

“We pulled another sample this morning but the test takes 24 hours to incubate, so we’re still waiting on the results,” she said Thursday.

Wilkies Beach is the town’s only public beach and is typically busy in July and August, she said.

The closure is the latest in what has been a tough summer for some popular beaches in Maine.

Woods Pond Beach in Bridgton was closed for a several days last month after more than a dozen visitors got sick. Tests later revealed that norovirus was to blame.

Another beach in Bridgton, on Highland Lake, closed for a day in late July after water tests revealed high levels of E. coli bacteria, which is commonly found in the lower intestines in humans and other animals and can be harmful if ingested.

And just this week, town officials in Oakland closed a beach on Messalonskee Lake after high levels of E. coli were found. Town Manager Gary Bowman said goose waste, coupled with sustained hot temperatures, was likely to blame.

Rodriguez said Gray officials aren’t sure what might be causing high bacteria levels at Wilkies Beach, but beachgoers have reported that geese are nearby.

“We do our best to chase them away, but they’re persistent,” she said.

Rodriguez said town officials would alert the public as soon as the beach is cleared to reopen.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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