What to Know
- The dirtiest beach in New York (and the tri-state) is located in Suffolk County on Long Island, and it's the third dirtiest beach in the U.S
- Tanner Park in Copiague registered 48 potentially unsafe days where bacteria levels exceeded EPA standards
- New Jersey’s Berkeley Township/Beachwood Beach West had the highest for that state, while Byram Beach was the worst for Connecticut
After spending a day at a beach on the ocean, most people want to shower to get the salt and sand off them. But there’s an even bigger reason for bathing after going to these sandy shores.
The Environment America Research and Policy Center conducted a study examining which beaches in the United States were the dirtiest. From the 29 states sampled (all that have a shore on an ocean or the Great Lakes) and Puerto Rico, more than 2,600 beaches were potentially unsafe for swimming during at least one day during 2018 — that’s more than half of all the sites tested. More than 600 spots were considered unsafe a quarter of the time or more they were tested, according to the study.
Sites were labeled unsafe if bacteria levels in the waters exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s most protective “Beach Action Value” threshold, which is the level which the EPA estimates 32 out of 1,000 swimmers would get sick from going in the water, Environment America said.
Locally, the dirtiest beach in New York (and the entire tri-state) was Tanner Park in Copiague, Suffolk County. The Long Island beach registered 48 unsafe days, the third highest in the country. Woodlawn Beach State Park on the shores of Lake Erie just south of Buffalo was second worst with 47 unsafe days, followed by Shirley Beach on in Brookhaven and Venetian Shores also on the south shore in West Babylon, with both registering 28 unsafe days. Valley Grove Beach off Huntington Bay was fifth with 24 potentially unsafe days.
New Jersey’s Berkeley Township/Beachwood Beach West had the highest for that state, with 14 unsafe days found. Berkeley Township at West Beach Avon Road and
Winward Beach Park also made the list from Ocean County, both with eight potentially unsafe days. Monmouth County’s L Street Beach in Belmar and Highlands Borough Community beach also cracked the top five.
In Connecticut, two spots on Byram Beach in Bridgeport had the most unsafe days with six apiece. Seaside Park Beach in Greenwich had three locations with four or five days of unsafe levels as well.
The spot that had the most potentially unsafe days to swim in 2018 was Inner Cabillo Beach in Los Angeles, with 85 unsafe days. Second worst was Cole Park in Corpus Christi, Texas, with 52 unsafe days.
Some good news for swimmers in the northeast: The East Coast had the lowest percentage of beach sites that were potentially unsafe once last year, at 48%. The Gulf Coast had the most, with 85% of places being potentially unsafe once, with Great Lakes with 75% and West Coast at 67%.
For all the findings, read the report here.