Beach Water Quality Testing Standards Questioned

Crescent Beach in Glen Cove

Long Island lawmakers are calling on the stricter guidelines for testing water quality at beaches following a new report that raised concerns about federal standards used in determining if swimmers are safe.

The National Resources Defense Council released a report last week that found, among other things, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s bar for keeping a beach open is if 1 in 28 swimmers may become ill from waterborne pathogens.

“The EPA needs to update their clean water standards,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) told reporters Friday at Glen Cove city’s Crescent Beach, which has been closed since 2009 due to unsafe bacteria levels. “Think of the jobs that long-term funding would create.”

New York State ranked 22nd in beach water quality out of 30 states surveyed with the leading cause of contamination being polluted storm water runoff, according to the study, Test the Waters 2013: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches.

“We can’t enjoy our own bodies of water,” said Paul DeOrsay, executive director of Friends of the Bay.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Farmingdale-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment, also joined in the call for more testing and for the public to be given more information.

“The bottom line is that we have become way too accepting of pollution in our water ways,” she said.

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