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Water: Beaches

Connecticut 2009 Swimming Season Update

May 2010


Introduction

drawing of the state of Connecticut with counties identified in green

Figure 1. Connecticut coastal counties.

The BEACH Act of 2000 requires that coastal and Great Lakes states and territories report to EPA on beach monitoring and notification data for their coastal recreation waters. The BEACH Act defines coastal recreation waters as the Great Lakes and coastal waters (including coastal estuaries) that states, territories, and authorized tribes officially recognize or designate for swimming, bathing, surfing, or similar activities in the water.

This fact sheet summarizes beach monitoring and notification data submitted to EPA by the State of Connecticut for the 2009 swimming season.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health collects monitored beach data for 66 marine beaches located along its shoreline with Long Island Sound. Local health departments monitor 61 of these beaches. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection monitors the remaining four State Park marine beaches.

Connecticut has adopted a set of beach monitoring guidelines that are based on U.S. EPA standards for recreational bathing waters. These guidelines have been in effect since May 1989. They were revised most recently in April 2003.

Questions about a municipal beach should be directed to the shoreline local health department that monitors it. Questions about a State Park beach should be directed to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

Table 1. Breakdown of monitored and unmonitored coastal beaches by county for 2009.
County Total Beaches Monitored Not Monitored
Fairfield 28 28 0
Middlesex 5 5 0
New Haven 19 19 0
New London 14 13 1
Totals 66 65 1

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2009 Summary Results

How many notification actions were reported and how long were they?

Bar Graph of Beach notification actions by duration

Figure 2: Beach notification actions by duration.

When water quality standards are exceeded at a particular beach, Connecticut’s approach is to issue a beach advisory or closure to warn people to avoid contact with the ocean water. A total of 30 monitored beaches had at least one notification action issued during the 2009 swimming season. About 93 percent of Connecticut’s notification actions lasted two days or less. Figure 2 presents a full breakdown of notification action durations.

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What percentage of days were beaches under a notification action?

Pie Chart of Beach days with and without notification actions

Figure 3: Beach days with and without notification actions.

For Connecticut’s 2009 swimming season, actions were reported about 2 percent of the time (Figure 3).

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How do 2009 results compare to previous years?

Table 2 compares 2009 notification action data with monitored beach data from previous years.

Table 2. Beach notification actions, 2007–2009.
Year 2007 2008 2009
Number of monitored beaches 66 66 65
Number of beaches affected by notification actions 33 24 30
Percentage of beaches affected by notification actions 50% 36% 46%
Percentage of beach days affected by notification actions 2% 2% 2%

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What pollution sources possibly affect investigated monitored beaches?

Figure 4 displays the percentage of Connecticut’s investigated monitored beaches possibly affected by various pollution sources. In 2009, 80 percent of the beaches included storm-related runoff as a possible source. No pollution sources were identified at 17 percent of the beaches.

Bar Graph of Percent of Beaches

Figure 4: Percent of investigated monitored beaches affected by possible pollution sources (54 beaches).

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For More Information

Connecticut's 2008 Beach Season Data | General information about beaches | Beaches in Connecticut Exit EPA Disclaimer (Click Programs and Services at the top of the Web page. Then select Public Beaches.)

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