NYC Beach Monitoring and Surveillance

The NYC Health Department is responsible for beach surveillance and monitoring for all permitted City beaches. The program is comprised of two major areas:

  1. Routine water quality monitoring at beaches for compliance with the water quality standards, and
  2. Compliance inspection of beach facilities in accordance with New York City and New York State health codes.

Water samples are collected from NYC beaches on a routine basis for scientific analysis. If the results of the analysis reveal that the samples do not meet the criteria for the beach to be open for swimming and wading, the PHE will issue a beach advisory or closure depending on the extent of the pollution. The beach facility must post notification signs at the beach until advised by PHE to remove them - see below for examples of beach notification signs.

Do not swim in areas where there are no lifeguards or when a beach is under an advisory or closure. To find out if an NYC beach is "Open for Swimming and Wading," "Under Advisory," or "Closed" call 311, sign up for phone notifications, text Beach to 877-877, or check out our NYC Area Beach Map.


Beach Classification

Each beach is assigned a classification, as listed below, by the NYC Health Deparment based on the evaluation and evidence of information provided by past history and existing water quality data and trends, including regional hydrodynamics, sanitary and safety surveys, known spills or pollution events, site conditions, frequency of use, beach length, and proximity to potential pollution sources and storm water discharges.

OPEN Open for Swimming and Wading

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All of the following conditions are considered in order for a beach to be classified as open and approved for swimming and wading:

  1. Beach water quality is in accordance with the following water quality standard for marine water beaches: Enterococci geometric mean shall not exceed 35 Colony Forming Units (CFU) per 100 ml for a series of five or more samples collected during a 30-day period.
  2. Sanitary and safety surveys conducted are satisfactory to the Department; and  
  3. The epidemiological history is satisfactory to the Department. No repeated complaints/reports of illness/injury received from the public or from owners/operators of beaches.

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ADVISORY Advisory – swimming and wading not recommended

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The Health Department declares an Advisory when swimming and wading are NOT RECOMMENDED. It does not mean that the beach is closed. Contacting water contaminated with elevated levels of bacteria may cause illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory illness or infections. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and the chronically ill are at higher risk. An advisory may be issued based on one or a combination of the following conditions:

When preliminary water quality assessment indicate naturally occurring organisms or human influences may be causing a continuous or reoccurring water quality exceedance, when a sanitary and safety survey or investigation reveals the presence of floatable debris, medical/infectious waste or toxic contaminants, petroleum products, and/or other contamination on the beach or evidence of sewage and wastewater discharge.

Wet Weather Conditions – following a period of heavy rainfall, which could lead to sewer overflows and storm runoff from streets and other land surfaces which predictably cause elevated levels of bacteria in some beach waters. The following wet weather conditions result in Advisory declarations:

Beach Rainfall Limit Advisory Duration
Orchard Beach, Bx >2.5 inches 24 hours
Manhattan Beach,
Kingsborough Community
College, Bklyn Midland
Beach, South Beach,
Cedar Grove Beach, SI
1.5-2.5 inches 12 hours
>2.5 inches 24 hours
Coney Island, Bklyn >2.5 inches 12 hours
Gerritsen Beach, Bklyn
Whitestone Booster, Qns
0.3-0.6 inches 18 hours
>0.6 inches 40 hours
Douglaston, Qns 0.3-0.6 inches 30 hours
0.6-2.5 inches 60 hours
>2.5 inches 72 hours
All Bronx Private Beaches 0.6-2.5 inches 36 hours
>2.5 inches 48 hours

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CLOSED Closed. Swimming and wading not permitted.

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City beaches may be classified as "Restricted for Swimming and Wading" when one or a combination of any of the following conditions exist:

  1. Confirmed samples show that beach water quality exceeds the following water quality standard for marine water beaches: Enterococci geometric mean shall not exceed 35 Colony Forming Units (CFU) per 100 ml for a series of five or more samples collected during a 30-day period.
  2. Epidemiological data indicates a significant incidence of related illnesses or repeated complaints/reports of illness/injury received from beach patrons.
  3. Sanitary and Safety Survey/Investigation: A sanitary and safety survey or an investigation reveals the presence of potentially hazardous amounts of floatable debris, medical/infectious waste, toxic contaminants, petroleum products or other contamination on the beach, or there is evidence of sewage and wastewater discharge in sufficient quantities that will adversely affect the quality of the beach water.
  4. Any other environmental factors determined to be a public health or safety hazard by the NYCDOHMH.

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Beach Notification Signs

beachadvisory
Beach Under Advisory
beachclosed
Beach Closed

Surveillance and Monitoring Beach Reports


More Beach Information