Save The Bay – Beach Closures vs. Shellfish Closures
The following was posted on the Save The Bay – Narragansett Bay Facebook on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.
A question was posed about the difference between beach closures by the Rhode Island Department of Health and shellfish closures by RI DEM. Tom Kutcher, our Narragansett Baykeeper explains:
“Shellfish closure criteria are actually more strict than the swimming water monitoring, but they use a different sampling method and sample in different areas at different times. Sometimes this makes for an illogical situation where shell fishing is not closed and swimming is, but that’s how the process works.
“Beach closures have significantly decreased every year since the sewage overflow tunnel went in in 2009. Although it may seem to be a slow process, the Bay is certainly cleaner now than it was then and will continue to improve as the second and third phases of the overflow abatement project are completed.
“However, overflows are a function of rainfall, and there has been a string of heavy rain events this past month that have led to recent beach closures. It’s unfortunate that during this hot weather, we can’t swim at some of these beaches due to the risk of illness from the sewer overflows, but it’s better to be safe. We expect that the completion of the sewer project will greatly reduce pollution from rain events moving forward. We’re working on this every day.”