Anne Arundel County health officials are warning people to avoid swimming at three local beaches following two straight weeks of high bacteria readings.
Signs will be posted to warn people not to swim or have other direct water contact at Beverly Beach along the Chesapeake Bay near Mayo, at Londontown's Arundel Road Beach on the South River in Edgewater and at Upper Magothy Beach on the Magothy River in Severna Park.
Anyone who does come in contact with the water in those areas should wash well in warm, soapy water. Clothes should be washed.
High bacteria levels were found in water samples that were collected June 6 and June 13 as part of the county Health Department's summertime beach testing program, officials said.
The Upper Magothy enterococci reading on June 13 was 244 colonies, while the limit for safe swimming at that beach is 158.
Beverly Beach's reading on June 13 was 336 colonies, while the limit for safe swimming for that beach is 104 colonies.
Londontown's Arundel Road beach had a reading of 1,014 colonies on June 13, above the limit of 104 colonies. That was much higher than other beaches in the neighborhood, which were all less than 100.
A cause of the high bacteria readings has not yet been pinpointed, but possibilities include waterfowl, rainfall, water temperature and tidal action, officials said.
For information about beach water quality, visit www.aahealth.org/beach or call 410-222-7999.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun