NEW YORK – New York beaches saw an increase last year in the number of days with health-related advisories or closings due to pollution concerns, an environmental group said Wednesday.
The Natural Resources Defense Council examined government data for closings and advisories at beaches nationwide in its annual report, “Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches.”
In New York, the NRDC found that the state’s 350 beaches had a total of 1,775 days with closings or advisories in 2009. That was up from 1,610 in 2008 and 1,547 in 2007.
The report said 62 percent of the closings and advisories were pre-emptive due to heavy rainfall and other conditions. Rainfall can take pollution from overflowing sewers and land and send it into larger water bodies.
The other 38 percent of closings and advisories were due to testing that found elevated bacteria levels.
Across the country, there were 18,682 warning and advisory days, the NRDC said.
New York has both ocean and Great Lakes coastline. The state’s beaches can be monitored as often as every day to every month to not at all.
The NRDC looked at monitoring samples that had been collected, and found that overall, 11 percent of them exceeded the state’s maximum standards for bacteria.
Niagara County in western New York had the highest rate, with 39 percent of samples exceeding the state maximum.
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