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Press Release Details

New Hampshire Coastal Beaches Named 1st in the Nation in Water Quality by NRDC

Concord, NH – The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has named New Hampshire coastal beaches first in beach water quality. The NRDC has published its 20th Annual “Testing the Waters” report analyzing beach data reported to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by coastal and Great Lakes states. Only 1 percent of 1,712 samples collected at coastal New Hampshire beaches during 2009 exceeded the state standard of 104 counts of Enterococci/100 ml of water. New Hampshire ranks first among the 30 states that are part of the EPA’s beach monitoring program.

Both Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands Beach at Wallis Road were awarded five stars (Wallis Sands State Park received four stars), the highest rating, by the NRDC among 359 of the nation’s most popular coastal and Great Lakes beaches. Beaches are awarded stars for excellent water quality, frequent testing, and communicating advisories to the public. Only 19 beaches were given a five star rating. The EPA BEACH Act Celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and continues to provide The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) funding to sample and monitor our coastal public beaches. DES is very proactive in locating potential sources of pollutants to New Hampshire beaches. These programs allow DES to provide remediation efforts to reduce pollutants that may lead to swimming advisories at our public beaches.

The top water quality assessment and five star ranking of New Hampshire coastal beaches demonstrates how well New Hampshire residents, town officials and state organizations have been able to work cooperatively to keep our beaches and coastal waters clean. New Hampshire residents should be proud of our coastal water quality and strive to maintain these levels. Currently, the DES Beach Program is completing management plans for two coastal watersheds. Management plans will contain specific recommendations regarding septic systems, pet waste, and other sources to reduce bacteria loads at tidal beaches. Cooperative efforts will identify pollution sources, determine sources of contamination, and then develop and implement bacteria management plans to reduce beach pollution.

Simple steps everyone can take throughout the coastal watershed will prevent beach pollution. Everyone can help by picking up pet waste, maintaining septic systems, putting swim diapers with plastic covers on babies, and keeping trash off the beach. Together, everyone can work to maintain New Hampshire’s top rated beaches.

Visit the DES Beach Program website for more information: http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/beaches/index.htm

Updates on advisories and warnings may be obtained at http://www2.des.state.nh.us/Advisories/Beaches/

Follow the Beaches’ Twitter feed at: http://twitter.com/NHDES_Beaches