no swimming warning sign about e. coli posted on beach gate (copy)

The gates to the Lenox Town Beach reopened Saturday, after being closed for several days amid elevated levels of E. coli bacteria. Sandy Beach in Lee, on the other side of Laurel Lake, also had been closed, but it reopened Friday.

LENOX — Thanks to a clean bill of health from the state Department of Public Health, the town beach at Laurel Lake reopened Saturday.

The announcement by Tri-Town Health Department Executive Director Jim Wilusz noted that the high E. coli bacteria count this week had dropped to normal levels, based on results from Friday’s DPH test sample.

The level had been above the state threshold of 235 colonies per 100 milliliters of water Wednesday and Thursday. Friday’s test showed a steep decline, to 76, well within the safe range, according to state guidelines.

“Thanks everyone for your patience and cooperation,” Wilusz stated. “Public health and safety are our number one priority and one of the reasons why we monitor our beaches locally through the district.”

The Lee Sandy Beach on the opposite shore of Laurel Lake had been closed for one day, but was cleared to reopen Friday. The bacterial contamination resulted from recent heavy rainfall.

The beach on the Lenox side had been expected to remain closed until Tuesday, but the DPH retesting allowed for the earlier reopening.

The state sanitary code requires cities and towns to test public and semipublic beaches regularly for E. coli during the swimming season.