FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
May 30, 2008 William Gerrish
HARTFORD -- The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that its Beach Monitoring Program water testing services are available to state agencies and local health departments/districts this summer to test the safety of swimming water at public bathing areas, including fresh water and coastal public swimming areas, as well as municipal public pools.
This week, the DPH Lab began testing of water samples from among 62 town-regulated marine beaches as well as Connecticut’s four coastal state parks: Sherwood Island State Park Beach, Silver Sands State Park Beach, Hammonassett State Park Beach, and Rocky Neck State Park Beach. Additionally all inland state parks with public swimming areas are also sampled and monitored. Testing is funded in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).
“Connecticut has a beautiful recreational resource in its coastal beaches, its inland lakes and ponds, and its town and city swimming pools,” said DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. “The water testing efforts in our state reflect a collaboration between federal, state and local public health authorities that makes swimming at these public areas safer for our residents.”
Through Labor Day, the DPH lab will test approximately 5,000 water samples collected from across the state. Coastal water samples are transported to the DPH Lab and tested for elevated levels of Enterococcus.
“Elevated levels of Enterococcus may make humans sick, and can indicate the presence of other organisms that cause illness,” Dr. Galvin noted. “Children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are at particular risk.” Inland water samples are similarly tested for elevated levels of E. coli.
Test results are provided to local health departments, and to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), who are responsible for public notification of closures and advisories for beaches within their purview. The Connecticut Department of Public Health in addition to providing laboratory analysis of bathing water samples also provides technical assistance to DEP and local health departments/districts with interpretation of laboratory results. The Department also assists in identifying possible sources of contamination where elevated sample results occur.
“This program is just one example of how local, state and federal public health officials work together, keeping Connecticut healthy,” Dr. Galvin concluded.
For more information about Connecticut public beaches and beach monitoring, please visit http://www.ct.gov/dph/. Click on Programs and Services near the top of the Web page, and then select Public Beaches.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.