Tuesday morning was the first sampling run of the season for our Blue Water Task Force summer intern Colleen Henn. Colleen was out collecting water samples from SH & EH ponds and beaches as the last rain showers left the area following the previous nights storms and the results showed some of the highest bacteria levels this program has detected in Georgica and Sagg Pond and Fresh Pond in Amagansett.
As per EPA’s recommendations, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will close beaches to swimming when enterococcus bacteria levels exceed a count of 104/100 ml water. The bacteria count at Fresh Pond Creek in Amagansett was over 4000/100 ml on Tuesday
. Bacteria levels at the kayak/boat launch into Georgica Pond that is located on the south-side of Route 27 in Wainscott were over 7000. The south side of the pond near the beach was approximately 1500, and even in the ocean water at Georgica Beach Association exceeded the health standard at 160. Every other water sample Surfrider has collected at this beach over the last year has tested clean.Sagg Pond exceeded the health standard with a count of 341 bacteria, but the ocean water at Sagg Main tested clean. Water samples collected from Mecox Bay and Scott Cameron Beach also tested clean.
Nationwide, stormwater runoff is the leading cause of beach closures and swimming advisories issued at the beach, and unfortunately we are starting to see the impacts of runoff in our local waters. Heavy rains can wash animal and pet waste, lawn chemicals and septic overflow and leakage into surface waters. Click here to see our full results from this week’s sampling event: https://easternli.surfrider.org/programs/water-testing-blue-water-task-force/
Thanks to our partners at Concern Citizens for Montauk who help us run this citizen-based water quality monitoring program locally an the Walrath Family Foundation for providing funds to support our summer intern.
The attached photos show Colleen Henn, Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force intern, collecting water samples at Georgica Beach Association and Georgica Pond last summer, and Surfrider volunteer Diana Hendrickson collecting a sample from the Kayak Launch site on Georgica Pond.