Gunpowder Falls State Park's riverfront beach in Chase will remain closed until at least the middle of next week because of test results showing high levels of fecal coliform bacteria, park and environmental officials said yesterday.
After reviewing results of the latest round of testing on water at beaches in eastern Baltimore County, environmental officials said Middle River's Miami Beach also will be closed this weekend.
More samples are to be taken at the beaches Monday for tests that will yield results a day later, said David Riter, a technician with the county's Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management.
Gary Haslam, manager of the Hammerman area at Gunpowder Falls State Park, said the park will remain open for picnicking and other activities, including kayaking and sailing, but no swimming or windsurfing will be allowed until at least midday Wednesday.
"We're scrambling, no doubt," Haslam said, explaining that he was calling groups that had scheduled affairs at the park to let them know of the closing.
The Baltimore Area Boardsailing Association canceled a race yesterday that had been scheduled for tomorrow on the Gunpowder River.
Admission to the park will be reduced from $2 to $1 through Wednesday, Haslam said.
The beach was closed Thursday after county environmental officials received test results on water samples taken Aug. 2. Those tests showed an average of 1,500 colonies of bacteria per 100 milliliters, exceeding the state standard of 200 colonies per sample.
Tests on water collected Thursday at the beach showed an average of 590 colonies per sample, Riter said.
Officials have said the elevated bacteria count probably was caused by high temperatures, runoff from rain and waterfowl droppings.
Fecal coliform, a bacteria found in warm-blooded animals, can cause stomach disorders, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in swimmers and others who come into contact with high levels of it.
Tests showed an average of 322 colonies per sample at Miami Beach, which is run by the county Department of Recreation and Parks and is open only on weekends, Riter said.
In 1997, Miami Beach was closed from July through the end of the summer because of high bacteria levels.
The beach at the county's Rocky Point Park in Essex is to remain open for swimming, officials said.