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August 9, 2020


Rye Playland Beach Photo Credit: Save the Sound
Harbor Island Park and Beach in Mamaroneck had a poor water quality year in 2018, according to Save the Sound. Photo Credit: Save the Sound
Orchard Beach in the Bronx and two beaches in Rye have been rated among the top 10 cleanest along Long Island Sound during the past three years. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

How Your Beach Ranks In Clean Water Quality

Two beaches in Westchester County rank among the cleanest beaches along Long Island Sound, according to a study of water quality for the past three years. 

Rye Town Beach, also known as Oakland Beach, and Rye Playland Beach both averaged well above the rest during wet and dry weather conditions from 2016 through 2018, according to this report by Save the Sound.

The report highlighted the “Top 20” beaches on Long Island Sound based on water quality, and, for the first time, presented comprehensive grades for 204 swimming beaches in New York and Connecticut. Orchard Beach in the Bronx and seven beaches on Long Island rounded out New York's "Top 10."

Receiving poor grades last year were Harbor Island Beach in Mamaroneck and Hudson Park Beach in New Rochelle.

High rainfall impacts water quality at beaches in a number of ways, including by diverting untreated sewage directly into the Sound in locations which use combined stormwater and sewer pipes, or those locations with decaying and damaged pipes. With increased rainfall levels leading to added beach closure days, even in the sunny days following heavy rain, Save the Sound is urging communities to invest in improved sewer treatment and handling capacity, as well as to increase testing at impacted beaches. Save the Sound has successfully lobbied for state funding in both Connecticut and New York to assist municipalities in upgrading their wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

Tracy Brown, director of Save the Sound, said, “Long Island Sound beaches are an integral part of the lives of millions of beachgoers each year. We’re pleased to see so many beaches testing water quality regularly and offering public access for swimmers and beachgoers to enjoy the Sound safely. At the same time, we know that beaches practically next door to one another can have vastly different water quality, especially if local stormwater and sewer lines are combined or are in poor condition."

The report details safe swimming conditions at numerous beaches, but noted that continued rain-triggered water pollution is a harbinger of future challenges. Save the Sound also unveiled an upgraded website dedicated to providing public access to over a decade of water quality data for Sound beaches, at

Save the Sound’s Beach Report offers good news for swimmers and beachgoers, highlighting dozens of beaches on both sides of the Sound that consistently earn top grades for water quality. On average, Long Island Sound beaches met safe-swimming criteria more than 93 percent of the time in 2016-2018. 

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