Eastern Long Island Chapter

Blue Water Task Force

The Blue Water Task Force is the Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer water testing program that provides critical water quality information to protect public health at the beach.

North Fork and Southampton Test Locations:

East Hampton Test Locations:

Recreational activities — such as swimming, surfing, and fishing — and local business industries are all dependent upon clean water and clean beaches.  Our chapter has joined forces with multiple local organizations including the Concerned Citizens of Montauk (CCOM) and the Peconic Baykeeper to test the water quality at the ocean, bay beaches, creeks, and stormwater pipes that discharge onto our beaches.

We sample the water for Enterococcus, a coliform bacteria that indicates fecal pollution from either humans or animals. When Enterococcus is detected, it indicates the presence of other harmful pathogens that can make people and their pets sick. Symptoms include the stomach flu, skin rashes, respiratory infections, or worse.

We sample over 70 sites from Westhampton to Montauk on a weekly basis from June – September, and at least monthly during the rest of the year. Water samples are processed at one of two water testing laboratories: the CCOM office or Peconic Baykeeper office. Our water quality information is posted online at two Blue Water Task Force Sites: Southampton and East Hampton.

For all blog posts about our Blue Water Task Force Program, click here. For more on these bacterial monitoring tests and what they mean, review this information from University of Rhode Island.

Interested in volunteering for the Blue Water Task Force? Click here to learn more.

Every year we publish our Blue Water Task Force report to summarize the results of all our sampling locations. See all of our reports to date below.

Annual Blue Water Task Force Reports:  2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 – 2019 Summary, 2013 – 2016 Summary

SUBSCRIBE TO WATER QUALITY ALERT EMAILS: send an email to bwtf@easternli.surfrider.org to get the latest results straight to your inbox!



While the Blue Water Task Force tests for potentially harmful bacteria, blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) are another cause for concern in Eastern Long Island waters. Under optimal conditions (warm temperatures, sunlight and plentiful nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous), cyanobacteria can develop toxins and grow in localized blooms. (More on cyanobacteria). To protect public health, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation tests our waterways for blue-green algae and posts the results to DEC’s Harmful Algal Blooms Notifications Page. 

Take a look at these site-specific analyses: