Sunday, May 3, 2009

Beach Meeting

Every year about this time the State of Connecticut hosts its annual beach conference.
This is basically a meeting of all the coastal towns and a few inland where there are public lakes to discuss what is new, how the state testing will proceed and it can be somewhat boring.
The issue has been that since the US EPA gives states money for testing, the state will pick up samples from localities who want them tested for free, but there is a catch.
We in the lower Fairfield county would have to get the samples some significant distance to get picked up and if we wanted to have a re-sample we would have to get the samples to Hartford.
So much for free, this is one of the reasons that we have our own lab in Stamford. the other, well now there is NO private lab in the immediate area for any water testing. The closest is in Norwalk. try getting a sample there within 145 minutes of collection!
On to the subject tho. the meeting also describes methods, actions and directions for the beach testing program. We in Stamford have been at it longer than most, 35 plus years. I have been involved 30 years, since I started working with Stamford.
The US EPA will be there listening and sharing wisdom of how they want NO beach closings.
Having figured out long ago that this was impossible if you wanted to protest public health, I have been relieved as of late that the US GS and the Great Lakes beach watch program has fairly much figured out the same thing.
They have gone to great lengths to prove that the bacteria we look for is very naturally present in the environment and it my not have anything to do with sewage.
The portions that is interesting is that it is still the organism that can get us sick.
They have found that people bring it with them into the water, that the bacteria survives well in wet beach sand, that geese, gulls any any other shore bird can bring it into the water, it gets increased with rain and strong winds will raise the levels also.
None of this is surprising to me and does prove some of my own testing, but we are talking about natural water that is a shared resource with animals and fish. this is not a pool, clean and hopefully disinfected properly. This is what we should expect.
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