HAMPTON BEACH – New Hampshire leads the nation in beach water quality, according to a new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Water pollution closed beaches in New Hampshire for a total of 12 days last year. Nationwide, water pollution resulted in more than 18,000 beach closings and advisories in 2009.
Representatives from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, State Division of Parks and Recreation, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, and Environment New Hampshire spoke at an event marking the report’s release at Hampton Beach today.
“When families head to the beach this summer, they shouldn’t have to worry about swimming in polluted water that can make them sick,” said Environment New Hampshire Advocate Jessica O’Hare.
Most of the beach closings that took place in New Hampshire in 2009 were caused by elevated bacteria levels. Contaminated beach water can expose swimmers to a variety of waterborne illnesses, including stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, dysentery, and hepatitis. The precise of the bacteria remains unknown at this time.
Jessica O’Hare of Environment New Hampshire discusses the NRDC report
Despite ranking first in the nation for beach water quality, water pollution continues to be a problem within the Granite State’s coastal watershed. NHDES has listed a number of the region’s surface waters as impaired or threatened by pollution. The list include Little Bay, Great Bay, Bellamy River, Cocheco River, Exeter River, Oyster River, Piscataqua River, Lamprey River, and Salmon Falls River.
The New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership is working to reduce water pollution in the Granite State’s coastal watershed. Learn more by visiting www.nhcoast.org, signing up for our email list, or following us on Twitter or Facebook.