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New London - The city turned off the water at the new whale tail fountain over the weekend after someone defecated in the water, City Councilor Michael Buscetto III said.
"People are using the tail as a latrine,'' city resident Evelyn Louziotis said. "It's an $11 million bathroom."
"It's sad,'' Buscetto said during Monday's City Council meeting. "It's two steps forward and three steps backward. There are people in the city who don't care, and they need to be dealt with."
Buscetto said since water started flowing in the whale fountain last month, police and fire officials have been called for people urinating, defecating and washing themselves off in the fountain water. He said some people who have cut themselves have also used the fountain to rinse off blood.
"I'm concerned with the sanitary aspect of the water," Buscetto said, adding that there needs to be more supervision at the Parade. He said city officials know who is abusing the fountain and the Parade area.
"Let's call them frequent fliers,'' he said, referring to a group of people who routinely hang out on the benches on the Parade.
On Thursday, the fire department responded to an emergency at the Parade after a man fell down the steps and was found bleeding from a head wound. Firefighters returned Friday morning for someone reportedly showering in the water flowing over the tail.
Later that day, the Parade was filled at lunchtime with visitors to the Farmers Market there and to hear a concert.
Bill Morse, a member of the school board, said he likes seeing the fountain - which is "like a campfire in the woods" - every morning.
But he, too, is concerned with the quality of the water.
"If we are going to encourage children to run through the water, we have know the water is safe,'' he said.
City Manager Denise Rose said Ledge Light Health District would be testing the water daily. Police will also develop a plan to better keep an eye on the area.