PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island state departments of Health and Environmental Management have announced that all waters of Winnapaug Pond in Charlestown and Westerly have been closed to shellfishing until further notice. The departments also said that any shellfish harvested from the pond since Tuesday, July 23, should be thrown away.
Water samples collected on Wednesday had unsafe bacteria levels and the results were received late Friday. The high bacteria levels are likely due to stormwater runoff from the more than 3 inches of rain that fell on Monday and Tuesday. The health department has initiated a recall of shellfish commercially harvested (wild or farmed) from Winnapaug Pond on or after Tuesday and is advising that any shellfish harvested recreationally be thrown away immediately.
Shellfish from water with high bacteria levels could result in gastroenteritis, the health department said. The symptoms could include nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache, and fever. It can be a serious health concern for young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.
DEM is planning to collect additional water samples on Monday and will update its announcement as circumstances warrant.