OSWEGO COUNTY – The public can check the status of Lake Ontario swimming beaches before they head off to the water this summer through a new website developed by the state Department of Health.
The New York State Beach Water Quality website provides up-to-date information on the status and water sample results of public beaches at Mexico Point Park, Selkirk Shores State Park and Sandy Island Beach, and private beaches at Dowie Dale, Chedmardo, Brennan’s Beach and Ontario Shores campgrounds in Oswego County.
Public and private beaches on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound are also listed on the site.
“Lake Ontario beaches in Oswego County are tested for bacteria levels every week, weather permitting, by the county health and state parks departments to make sure that the water is safe for swimming,” said Natalie Roy, Principal Sanitarian for the Oswego County Health Department. “This website is a new tool that was developed by New York State to inform the public and to meet requirements of the federal Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act coastal monitoring grant program.”
Users can visit the site at www.oswegocounty.com and www.oswegocounty.com/health/index.html
Beaches that are monitored by the Oswego County Health Department are included on an interactive map and may be found through a search feature on the site.
State park beaches are listed in a separate area of the website and identified through a search feature.
The reports include bacteria levels of most recent tests and whether a beach is open, under an advisory or closed.
“It takes time to culture the bacteria in order to obtain an accurate estimate of their quantity,” said Roy. “In most cases, results are reported the day after water samples are taken. Beaches are posted and the public is notified 18 to 24 hours after an elevated concentration of bacteria occurs.”
The website also includes tips for safe swimming, information about algae blooms, and related information.
For more information, visit www.oswegocounty.com/health/index.html or call the Environmental Division of the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3557.