Highland Lake Beach in Bridgton was closed in late July after the water tested positive for high levels of E. coli, and now it has happened again. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

For the second time in two weeks, a popular public beach in Bridgton has been closed to swimming because of high bacteria levels.

Town officials said Friday that a test conducted a day earlier at Highland Lake Beach revealed high levels of the E. coli bacteria, which are commonly found in the environment, foods and intestines of people and animals. Some strains are harmless, but others can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness or pneumonia.

Because the testing facility is closed over the weekend, the beach will remain closed at least until Monday.

The same beach was closed in late July after tests found high levels of E. coli.

Although town officials don’t know what is causing the increase in bacteria, local fowl such as geese are often at least partially to blame.

Visitors can still use the beach for picnicking and can also use the nearby boat launch.

This summer already has brought a number of beach closures related to high levels of bacteria.

This week, town officials in Gray closed Wilkies Beach on Crystal Lake after tests came back high.

Also this week, a public beach on Messalonskee Lake in Oakland was closed.

And prior to the July closing of Highland Lake Beach, another beach in Bridgton, on Woods Pond, closed after several people who visited the beach reported getting sick. That outbreak was linked not to E. coli but to norovirus.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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