Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beaches' bacteria problem

At least half of the beach closings statewide in 2006 were attributed to stormwater and sewer overflows, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Beaches further from the open ocean generally have higher bacteria counts and are tested more frequently.


Keeping City Beaches Safe and Clean

The city tests most beaches for bacteria once a week, while Rockaway Beach, the public beach with the largest Atlantic Ocean beachfront, is tested only biweekly. Land mass and the body of water contiguous to the beach determines the frequency of testing. For instance, Rockaway Beach consistently averages low bacteria counts -- well within single day and monthly requirements.

On the other hand, private beaches in the Bronx and north shore of Queens, which are farther from the open ocean, have higher levels. According to the health department, there were 50 closure days and 26 pollution advisory days for the city's private beaches in 2007. Douglaston Manor Beach, a private beach nestled in an inlet on the border of Queens, has consistently high bacteria levels. In 2007, the Douglaston beach did not meet bacteria level requirements 81 percent of the time.

Chris Boyd, the director of public health engineering at the city's health department, said Douglaston has been closed since June. Its location, near an area of Queens serviced by septic systems, could affect bacteria levels. "Local residents have reported that they do have some neighbors that have failing septic systems and may be inappropriately discharging them," said Boyd.

The city is currently coordinating a "multi-agency response" to the issues facing Douglaston Beach, said Boyd.

Queens County ranked third best in terms of the number of beaches that never exceeded state standards for bacteria counts.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The whole city is going to be crap or going to crap anyway because of all these yunnie Mid-Westerner transplants. So, what else is new?

Joe said...

All the construction in the Bronx causes the whole western sound to become polluted from N Brother Island all the way to Glen Cove.
This now happens just about every time it rains. The Beach sand at Ceder and Rye is now almost black from all the cement pave-overs and storm draines.

Low tide smells and looks discusting in Port Washington...it was never bad like this

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the waterfront condo dwellers in College Point and Whitestone feel about having prime waterfront views of what can be described as an open sewer.

neversleep said...

The fact that Douglas Manor doesn't have sewers has a lot to do with the high bacterial counts there.

What with the high cost of Douglaston Club membership and gas for the boat, who can afford to fix up a 50 year old septic system...