Save The River’s annual summer Beach Watch Program will begin July 5th and will run through August 29th. The program will provide weekly snapshots of water quality at popular swimming areas during the peak recreational swimming season. Sites to be tested include Wilson’s Beach in Cape Vincent, Potter’s Beach on Grindstone Island, Frink Dock in Clayton, Round Island in Clayton, Lake of the Isles on Wellesley Island, and Scenic View Park in Alexandria Bay.
The samples collected each week are tested for Escherichia coli, (E. coli). E. coli is a fast spreading bacteria and can respond to environmental signals quickly in order to thrive in the water. Once tested, the bacteria levels in each sample are then compared to state and federal beach water quality standards, which are set at 235 colonies per 100 ml of water for the 2016 season. High levels of E. coli bacteria can cause health problems (including gastrointestinal illness), and can be dangerous to the very old, the very young, as well as those with a compromised immune system.
In 2015, all sites tested passed the weekly safety standard for E. coli levels, however, in previous years there have been occasional incidences of high bacteria levels, especially late in the summer season when water temperatures are at their highest. As a result, Save The River has continued to closely monitor water quality according to New York State Department of Health guidelines.
Beach Watch results are posted at the Save The River office and on the Save The River website, www.savetheriver.org every Thursday. The results can also be found on the Save The River Facebook page, in The Thousands Islands Sun, online at theswimguide.org or on the SwimGuide app available on the App Store and Google Play.