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State Bathing Beach Monitoring Program

A lifeguard monitors beach goers in a state swimming areaDEEP staff collect a water quality sample at a state swimming area

Headed to a State Beach? Call 866-CT-PARKS before you go!

The CT DEEP Water Monitoring Program conducts weekly bathing water sampling at state-owned and managed swimming areas.  Water testing begins the week before Memorial Day weekend and continues through Labor Day weekend. Water samples collected by DEEP staff are analyzed at the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) lab in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

Samples are analyzed for indicator bacteria, which do not cause disease themselves, but are one of the tools used by public health and environmental protection officials to evaluate the potential contamination of waterbodies. Specifically, indicator bacteria are used to predict the threat of waterborne illness by detecting potential contamination from fecal material of human or animal origin. Beach closure determinations are made jointly by the DPH and the DEEP using indicator bacteria data and best professional judgement. 

Beginning in 2013, DEEP also began studying blue-green algae or cyanobacteria toxin concentrations at state-owned swimming areas and boat launches. Additional beach closures may occur due to reports of a cyanobacteria bloom (also referred to a 'harmful algal blooms' or HABs) in the vicinity of the swimming area. To learn more about this effort visit the cyanobacteria webpage.

Beach Opening and Closure Notices

A sign warns the public that a beach is closed due to high bacteria levels.24-Hour Swimming Area Information Line

The DEEP State Parks Division maintains a toll free 24-hour State Parks Swimming Area Water Quality Status information line. By dialing 866-CT-PARKS or (866) 287-2757, the public and news media can check the status of Connecticut's State-owned swimming areas. The Information Line provides up-to-date information through a recorded message. In the event a swimming area is closed, the message may indicate alternative swimming locations.

State Swimming Area Water Quality Report

This report lists the location and status of all swimming areas managed by DEEP and is available during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Beach Status is updated daily from Monday through Friday. Please note that changes in beach status occurring over the weekend are updated on the Water Quality Information phone line below, but not on the website. 

Additional Resources

  • Indicator Bacteria Monitoring at Public Bathing Beaches (QAPP).  This Quality Assurance Project Plan describes in detail the procedures used to assure the indicator bacteria data collected from public bathing areas is reliable, credible, and usable for management decisions.
  • Beach Monitoring and Closure Protocol.  This document was written to standardize bathing beach monitoring and closure policies across a variety of agencies and municipalities. The document identifies indicator criteria and describes in detail the process for establishing a monitoring program, conducting sanitary surveys, and beach closure steps. Additional sampling is conducted following closures due to indicator bacteria criteria exceedances.
  • EPA BEACH Program strives to improve public health and environmental protection programs for beach users and to provide the public with information about the quality of their beach water. 

Program Contact Information

Chris Bellucci
CTDEEP Monitoring Group Supervisor
860-424-3735
Christopher.bellucci@ct.gov

 

 

Content last updated July 15, 2020