NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Most New Yorkers love their beaches, but a new report is shining a light on just how safe the water is to swim in.
Splishing and splashing in the Long Island Sound is a sign of the summer.
“It’s beautiful. It’s quiet. It’s perfect. It’s clean,” Jericho resident Denise Clappert said.
“Ninety-three percent of the water samples collected in the past three summers at all the Sound beaches passed state criteria for safe swimming,” Tracy Brown, director of Save the Sound, said.
Water samples were collected from 200 beaches on Long Island, Westchester and Connecticut. Each was given a letter grade based on the frequency and magnitude of dry and wet weather features, since researchers say rain plays a huge role in temporarily contaminating the water.
“[Rain can] pick up discarded litter and fecal matter from our landscape and our storm water and waste water infrastructure and deliver it to the coast,” Brown said.
The report shows the overall failure rate of beach samples more than doubled in wet weather. That’s why Theodore Roosevelt Beach in Oyster Bay closed on Thursday, but beach-goers were relieved it still scored an A.
“We need to know these things, especially if children are going to be in the water,” Syosset resident Doug Helkowski said.
“I am glad that they’re checking the water,” Oyster Bay resident Laura Gaffney said.
Crescsent Beach in Glen Cove scored a D. Locals aren’t surprised, since it’s been closed to swimmers since 2009. Lattingtown Beach a few miles away got a C+.
“I’m a little bit shocked. I was just saying to my friend that the water looked clean today,” Meaghan Serravite, of Glen Cove, said.
Dr. Greg O’Mullan, of Queens College, helped lead the report. He says neighboring beaches can have very different water quality. That means local sources of pollution have to be addressed.
“Avoiding waste going into storm drains, picking up after our dog,” he said.
He says a beach report like this is a tidal wave of information.
According to the report, the best beach for swimming in Westchester is Rye Town Park and on Long Island, it’s Hobart Beach in Suffolk County.
To read the full report, visit soundhealthexplorer.org.