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BEACH REOPENS FOR SWIMMING, BUT BRIEFLY

Woodlawn Beach State Park reopened for swimming Monday -- but you had to swim fast, because it closed again a short time later.

The beach was closed Saturday and Sunday due to heavy rains and reopened for swimming at 11 a.m. Monday.

But swimmers were ordered out of the water a few hours later, after the state received word of an overflow at the nearby Blasdell sewage treatment plant.

The beach is closed for swimming as a precaution whenever there is an overflow, Wendy Gibson, state parks spokeswoman, said.

It is hoped it can reopen today, she said.

The overflow occurred Sunday night and involved 100,000 gallons of sewage, Charles J. Alessi, county deputy commissioner of environment and planning, said.

He blamed the heavy rains for causing the overflow and said he suspects that other sewage treatment plants "upstream" also had overflows.

He said 100,000 gallons is a small amount compared with the 4 million gallons a year the plant used to overflow before being taken over by the county last year.

But that was small consolation to Rebecca Overton of Orchard Park, who was at the beach to swim with her granddaughter, Alexandria, 9.

"We swam for a while before they told us to get out," she said. "They've never told us to get out before. It's a little unsettling, but we'll take a shower."

Still, she was grateful for the high water standard. "I'd rather have them tell me to get out than let us swim in it," she said. "It's such a wonderful natural resource. It's just so beautiful, but they need to do something about the water."

Overton said she spent $59 for an Empire Pass for admission to all state parks.

"So far it's cost me $30 a swim," she said.

e-mail: kjones@buffnews.com and ternst@buffnews.com

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