Home Environment New report ranks water quality at Westchester, Fairfield beaches

New report ranks water quality at Westchester, Fairfield beaches

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A worker uses a bulldozer to prepare the beach at Playland for opening day. Photo by Bob Rozycki

A pair of Rye beaches and another pair of beaches in Stamford plus a Darien spot represented Westchester and Fairfield County’s in a new ranking of the Top 20 Long Island Sound beaches based on water quality released by the nonprofit organization Save the Sound.

In Westchester, Rye Town Beach, also known as Oakland Beach, ranked first for the county’s top 10 list, with Rye Playland Beach ranking 10th. The remaining top 10 New York beaches were mostly across the sound in Long Island, with Orchard Beach in the Bronx as the sole New York City locality. In Connecticut, Stamford was represented with second-ranked Quigley Beach and fifth-ranked East Cove Island Beach, with Darien’s Pear Tree Point Beach ranked 10th. The other Connecticut beaches on the list were in New Haven and New London counties.

Save the Sound, which has offices in Mamaroneck and New Haven, noted that, on average the Long Island Sound beaches met safe-swimming criteria 93.3% of the time in 2016 through 2018 when data were analyzed for the new study. However, the organization also warned that regional beaches need to improve their efforts to improve coastal stormwater management and sewage infrastructure in order to handle increasing rainfall levels expected over the coming years as a result of climate change. The organization called on municipal governments to increase spending on improved sewer treatment and handling capacity and on increased testing at potentially impacted beaches.

“Long Island Sound beaches are an integral part of the lives of millions of beachgoers each year,” said Tracy Brown, director of Save the Sound. “We’re pleased to see so many beaches testing water quality regularly and offering public access for swimmers and beachgoers to enjoy the Sound safely. At the same time, we know that beaches practically next door to one another can have vastly different water quality, especially if local stormwater and sewer lines are combined or are in poor condition.”

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