Save The River has received the test results for Week 8 (August 22nd) of the Beach Watch monitoring program. All beaches sampled on August 22nd “passed” but Wilson’s Beach was very near the failure threshold.
Week 8 Results (08-22-11)
Wilson’s Beach: PASS (read more on Wilson’s Beach below)
Potter’s Beach: PASS
Frink Dock: PASS
Round Island: No Sample
Lake of the Isles: PASS
Scenic View Park: PASS
Waddington Beach: No Sample
What do you mean Wilson’s Beach was near the failure threshold?
The New York State Department of Health considers water safe to swim in if there are less than 235 CFU’s (Colony Forming Units) of E.coli in a 100 mL sample. On August 22nd the sample taken at 3 feet at Wilson’s Beach had 209.8 CFU per 100 mL and the sample taken at 6 feet had 218.7 CFU per 100 mL. While it is unclear why Wilson’s Beach presented such a spike in E.coli levels for this testing week, there are certain factors that can contribute to such sharp changes in water quality. On both Sunday August 21st and Monday August 22nd there were periods of rain, with periods of heavy rain hitting the area on both days. Heavy periods of rain cause excess runoff and this runoff can increase the levels of E.coli in the water. Other factors that may have caused a spike in the E.coli level for that testing day include the presence of Cladophora algae at the beach and heavy beach usage on the days of Friday August 19th through Sunday August 21st.
About Beach Watch
The program provides a snapshot of water quality at popular swimming areas which are not monitored by other groups during the peak recreational swimming season. Our goal is to ascertain whether there is a health risk to swimmers from E.coli in the water. E. coli is a type of bacteria found in the intestines of animals, including humans, which in some instances is linked to human health concerns.
There are many potential sources for E.coli bacteria in swimming areas, including: improper sewage disposal, agricultural run-off, bird and animal waste and various other environmental factors.
Although the results cannot be used to conclusively say that a location is safe for swimming, Save The River advises beach goers to practice safe swimming habits to reduce the likelihood of acquiring bacteria related illnesses, such as rashes or gastrointestinal problems. When swimming, a few simple steps should be followed: choose swimming sites with good water circulation, never swallow swimming water and wash hands after swimming and before eating. If you are very young, very old or have a compromised immune system you are more susceptible to acquiring bacteria related illnesses.
Change in Beach Watch Program
To best serve the community and to compare Save The River water quality results with results from other state and federal agencies, Save The River has changed what type of bacteria they test for. In previous years, Save The River has tested water samples for Enterrococci bacteria but will now be testing for E.coli. Although Enterrococci bacteria are a type of E.coli, testing for E.coli broadens the range of bacteria that may be found. As always, Save The River will continue to monitor the beaches throughout the summer and report on results and trends
If you have any questions, concerns or would like more information on our Beach Watch program, please stop by the office or call, 315-686-2010.