Tuesday, 10 July 2018 09:38

Water being tested after at least 18 fall ill after swimming in Bridgton pond

Written by

BRIDGTON (WGME) - Water samples were collected from Woods Pond after at least 18 people fell ill from a mysterious illness they contracted after swimming at the beach there.

As of earlier this week, however, the results had not yet come back.


"I think it could be anything," said Lyndsay Stretch, whose children were among those who got sick after swimming.


Stretch said all three of her children -- ages 7, 9 and 11 -- started throwing up hours after swimming at Woods Pond Beach on the Fourth of July but that all had stopped vomiting by early the following morning.


The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 18 people became ill after swimming at the beach last week, prompting the town to close the beach until further notice.


However, Kelly Margolis, president of the Woods Pond Water Water Quality Association, believes the time to test the water was last week, while people were getting sick. She said if there were contaminants in the water, they could easily be gone by now.


"The opportunity for testing really was on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday," she said. "I don't know if we'll ever be able to find out or really be certain that we know."


Bridgton town officials said they did not find out about the illnesses until late Friday when the Maine CDC called.


Margolis said even Friday may have been too late to test the water.


Town officials said Emergency Room doctors who treated several patients did rule out E. coli.


Despite that, Stretch remains concerned.


"We want to know it's nothing serious. We certainly do," she said.


The pond does have high tannin levels from plant life getting into the water, giving it a tea-like tint. But Margolis said it doesn't cause illness.


"I don't think there's anything in particular in any of the lakes around here that really would cause people to get sick," she said.