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Press Release: Save The River Reports on 2011 Summer Beach Water Quality

September 20th, 2011 | Posted by admin

Clayton, NY (September 20, 2011) – Save The River’s Beach Watch Program monitored seven popular swimming areas over a nine-week period in July and August, providing a snapshot of summer swimming water quality. Overall, the results for this year indicated that the water quality at sampled beaches was within state and federal safe swimming standards.

Water quality sampling this year did not find consistently high levels of bacteria at Wilson’s Bay in Cape Vincent and Potter’s Beach on Grindstone Island, as in previous years. Wilson’s Bay did see a spike in bacteria levels on August 22nd, although the sample was still within safe state swimming water standards. (See fact sheet for detailed sampling results.)

Save The River Beach Watch volunteers sampled seven sites this season – Wilson’s Bay in Cape Vincent, Frink Dock in Clayton, Potter’s Beach on Grindstone Island, Lake of the Isles near Wellesley Island, Round Island near Clayton, Scenic View Park in Alexandria Bay and Waddington Town Beach in Waddington. Water samples are tested for E.coli, a bacterium found in the intestines. Test results are compared to New York State Department of Health standards for beach swimming water quality. New York State guidelines are that 235 CFUs or higher of E.coli bacteria per 100 milliliters of sample water is deemed unhealthy at swimming beaches. None of the samples taken this summer exceeded this guideline.

High levels of E.coli bacteria can cause health problems such as rashes and gastrointestinal illness, and are dangerous to the very old, very young or anyone with a compromised immune system.  Symptoms of infection include: chills, fever, diarrhea and cramping.  To reduce the risk of acquiring a bacteria-related illness, beach goers should employ the following simple safety measures: never swallow swimming water and wash hands after swimming and before eating.

Also, scientific studies have indicated that the presence of Cladophora, a type of green algae, can harbor unsafe levels of bacteria.  Save The River believes there is a strong indication that, on occasion, Wilson’s Bay experiences high levels of bacteria due to the presence of Cladophora. Save The River suggests looking for the presence of Cladophora algae before swimming at most locations on the river.

Save The River’s Beach Watch Program has been providing swimming water data to the Thousand Islands community since 1999.  All samples are taken by Save The River volunteers and analyzed by Converse Laboratories in Watertown, a state certified facility.

Several organizations provided key support to the Beach Watch program in 2011. Water samples were collected at Bowes Realty in Clayton and taken to Watertown each week through a sample collection coordination program in conjunction with Converse Laboratories. The Thousand Islands Land Trust provided staff support for the additional sampling at Potter’s Beach. And, volunteers took weekly samples at each of the seven beaches tested.

The full listing of 2011 sampling results and a summary are available on Save The River’s website, as well as results from prior years. During the swimming season, interested beach goers can sign up for Save The River’s weekly notification of Beach Watch information. To sign up, call Save The River at (315) 686-2010 or e-mail


For more information, contact Kayla Montanye at Save The River, (315) 686-2010.

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