The NYC Health Departmentn is responsible for beach surveillance and monitoring for all permitted City beaches. The program is comprised of two major areas:
- Routine water quality monitoring at beaches for compliance with the water quality standards, and
- Compliance inspection of beach facilities in accordance with New York City and New York State health codes.
Samples are collected on a routine basis for bacteriological enterococcus analysis. The quality of the samples analyzed are reviewed and assessed on the basis of conformance or non-conformance to the applicable standards. If the results of the validation and assessment reveal that there is sufficient evidence to support the finding that the regulatory criteria is exceeded, PHE issues an advisory or closure depending on the extent of the pollution. Notification signs shall be posted by the beach facility as required by PHE at the beach until advised by PHE to remove them.
Enterococci levels determine beach water quality. Studies conducted by EPA demonstrate that for marine waters, enterococci are best suited for predicting the presence of pathogens that cause illness. Bathing beach water quality must be in accordance with the following water quality standard for marine water beaches: Enterococci geometric mean shall not exceed 35 per 100 ml for a series of five or more samples collected during a 30-day period. The geometric mean of 35 per 100 ml is used to determine the long-term safety of a recreational beach for swimming, with an associated risk level of 1.9% (e.g., 19 illnesses per 1000 swimmers). Single Day Enterococcus Results are obtained during one sampling day. A health risk may be present when Single Day Enterococcus Results are greater than 104 per 100ml.
Beach Classification Description & Table Key