Three Maine beaches were flying orange flags on Thursday afternoon, warning visitors of high contamination levels making the water unsuitable for human contact.

Beaches with contamination warnings included Gooch’s Beach and Mother’s Beach in Kennebunk and Ocean Park in Old Orchard Beach. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection publishes information about the water quality at participating beaches on the Healthy Beaches Dashboard, which is updated daily with the results of bacteria monitoring.

A contamination warning indicates high levels of enterococci bacteria found in the water, which can be heightened by high levels of rainfall and an increased level of fecal matter in the water. While enterococci itself may not be harmful to humans, it indicates an environment that fosters potentially more harmful bacteria.

Possible results from exposure to contaminated water are gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin problems, resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and rashes.

Contamination levels are measured daily and updated on the DEP website, so contamination warnings may continue until the levels of enterococci decrease below the elevated bacterial limit.

The dashboard also lists beaches whose bacteria levels exceed the limit but where warnings have not yet been posted.

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