Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that New Yorkers are safe when they swim in the water at our beaches. A recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) raised significant concerns about the quality of water at beaches across the nation, including a jaw-dropping fact that EPA-suggested bacteria limits allow for beaches to remain open when 1 in 28 swimmers could become ill.
Rep. Israel said, "When families enjoy a day at the beach this summer, they shouldn't have to worry that they'll end up ill from pathogens in the water. Right now, 1 in 28 swimmers may become ill from waterborne pathogens if they swim in water that the EPA deems acceptable. I find this simply unacceptable. The EPA needs to review the NRDC report and find a way forward in ensuring our beaches are clean and safe."
Just over a week ago, the NRDC released a report entitled, "Testing the Waters 2013," which details the problems facing our beaches across the country and what can be done to mitigate these issues to ensure the safety of swimmers. Data from 361 New York beaches was used in the NRDC report, and of those, 269 are located in Nassau, Suffolk, or Queens Counties.
The report highlights that EPA criteria for ocean water allows levels of harmful pathogens that the EPA acknowledges could result in up to 36 out of 1,000 people who swim in the water getting sick. This translates to one out of every 28 beachgoers. Rep. Israel is calling on the EPA to review NRDC's report and work to address problems raised therein.
Making sure our beaches are safe and can open for public usage is good for local economies, especially in Long Island's coastal communities.
NRDC's "Testing the Waters 2013" can be found on their website at www.NRDC.org/beaches.