The Blue Water Task Force is Surfrider’s volunteer-run water testing program. The program provides information on the cleanliness of our local waters and beaches and builds community awareness of fecal pollution.
2013-2016 Water Quality Report: What’s In Your Water?
Recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, and fishing, business interests such as commercial fishing and our tourism 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 50 sites from Westhampton to Montauk on a weekly basis from May-November, 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 Stony Brook Southampton. 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, see these few pages from the University of Rhode Island.
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Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) blooms have become an important conversation for environmentalists, the local government, businesses, and landowners in Eastern Long Island. Under optimal conditions such as warm temperatures, sunlight and plentiful nutrients such as 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.