Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dirty First & Atlantic Beaches

I help weekly with Clean Ocean Access beach water quality testing. Usually I am at First Beach. Last week's results (Thurs.) after some heavy rainfall the day before (.58") & raining still that day was shocking. An acceptable rate of enterococci is 104 CFU per 100 ML. Easton's Beach (First) was 704. That's 7x above the allowable amount! Kings Park was 160 & Marine Beach was 173. Closed!

The previous month had also resulted in .52" with a rating of 20. In Jan. a .56" rain resulted in another reading of 20. The day we tested last week (we test at 6:30 am.) also resulted in more rainfall- (.39"). I believe that most of it was in the early am. It would seem that disaster strikes when substantially over that 1/2" mark and the rain continues without time to disappate. But I'm no marine biologist.

Still, during the summer heavy rains will likely result in beach closings once again. How long it will take to clear depends on the amount of rainfall.

The current Middletown plan concerns controlling the two outflow pipes at Eastons Point which has fared well in the current testing. It yielded polluted water only one day in early Feb. while none of the other testing points did. So any plan involving these two pipes will not totally solve the problem. Hopefully Newport's plan to process the flow from the resevoir moat onto the beach is the key.

Still, the good news is that for the most part these two beaches are clean. But watch out for that heavy rainfall.
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