Bacteria Contamination Forces Closure of Popular Beach

Update: Officials say Leddy Beach reopened a day after being closed after water tests came back with passing results.

Earlier story below:

A popular beach in Burlington, Vermont, was shut down Wednesday after test results showed high levels of E. coli contamination.

Lab samples were taken from several spots in the water of the beach at Leddy Park, Burlington Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront Director Jesse Bridges explained, with one sample showing safe levels and one showing very high levels.

"It's always better safe than sorry," Bridges said of the beach closure.

Bridges said animal waste washing into the lake could be a culprit, adding that the beach will reopen as soon as the department gets a clean reading back from the lab.

"It's especially a bummer when the weather's really hot and nice, and we want people to cool off," Bridges noted. "Lake Champlain is our greatest asset and resource, and the more we can get people engaging with it, on it, in it, the more people that will care about these types of things like lake health."

Red signs and messages on sandwich boards, along with social media postings, alerted beach-goers to Wednesday's closure

"It's supposed to be 90, right?" beach-goer Anne Marie Hanifin asked about Wednesday's hot temperatures. "So this is a bad day for it to happen."

"I think I'll sit this one out," said another beach-goer, Lisa Vanacek. "It's very disappointing. It's my day off--I love to come here, it's a beautiful beach. But I can live with it, I can find another one."

Burlington's other beaches were open Wednesday, after receiving clean E. coli readings, Bridges told necn.

The bacteria can cause cramps or diarrhea, but several swimmers appeared to be braving the water despite Wednesday's closure, careful to not ingest any.

"I was hot and wanted to go in the water," said Anna Thomson, who was wading in the lake at Leddy Park. "I didn't get anywhere close to getting any in my mouth."

A popular summer event, held the first Wednesday of the month in Leddy Park, continued despite the beach closure. Leddy Park Beach Bites features food trucks and a fun atmosphere from 5:00-8:00 pm.

With the beach closed, Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront staff set up kiddie pools and sprinklers to help the young attendees of Beach Bites to stay cool.

Bridges said a new lab reading was expected Thursday morning. Test results and announcements about beach closures will be available at

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