State Bathing Beach Monitoring Program

A lifeguard at a State swim area.DEEP staff collect a water sample from a State beach.

Headed to a State Beach? Check the Swimming Area Water Quality Report

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 water bodies. 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 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.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 from Monday through Friday based on testing results.

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. 
  • Video: What You Should Know About Cyanobacteria in Connecticut's Recreational Waters. This video was designed to address common questions and concerns regarding blue-green algae blooms in Connecticut's waters.   

Related Pages

Program Contact Information

Water Monitoring and Assessment Program
(860) 424-3028

 Content last updated July 14, 2023.