Page 10 THE EVERETT ADVOCATE – FRiDAy, July 24, 2020 Save the Harbor/Save the Bay releases Water Quality Report Card O n Wednesday, July 22, the environmental advocacy organization Save the Harbor/Save the Bay released its annual Metropolitan Beaches Water Quality Report Card, using data from the 2019 beach season. In 2019 weekly water quality testing at Boston’s regional beaches began on May 23. Supplemental daily testing of Constitution Beach, King’s Beach, Malibu Beach, Tenean Beach and Wollaston Beach began on June 13. Testing concluded on September 1. The scores reflect the percent of samples that complied with the single sample limit for bacteria of the state Department of Public Health (DPH) – the most straightforward way of evaluating beach water quality and potential impacts on human health. In 2019 the overall water quality safety rating for Boston Harbor’s regional beaches owned by the Commonwealth and managed by the state Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) was 88 percent, a decline from the previous year’s score of 94 percent. Changes in the intensity and frequency of summer storms often explain the variations seen on our beaches from year to year. These seasonal variations are why Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is reluctant to draw conclusions from a single year’s sampling results, preferring to rely on the multiyear average that is included in this report. Last year was one of the wettest years on record for Massachusetts, part of the wettest 12-month stretch in the state’s 124 years of record keeping. Some summer storms dropped a month’s worth of rain in just a few hours. It was a summer of extremes, with July also being The latest Water Quality Report Card from Save the Harbor/Save the Bay shows a safety rating of 88 percent for the state’s metropolitan beaches. (Photo Courtesy of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay) the hottest one on record, making beach accessibility even more critical to the region’s residents. In 2019 four of the region’s 15 public beaches (Carson Beach, M Street Beach, City Point Beach and Pleasure Bay, all in South Boston) achieved A.B.C. CIGAR 170 REVERE ST., REVERE (781) 289-4959 Same Location * Same Service for 48 Years! a perfect score of 100 percent, making them the cleanest urban beaches in the nation. Three area beaches (Nahant Beach, Constitution Beach in East Boston and Nantasket Beach in Hull) scored between 90 percent and 97 percent. Four area beaches (Short Beach in Revere and Winthrop, Revere Beach in Revere, Wollaston Beach in Quincy and Malibu Beach in Dorchester) scored between 83 percent and 88 percent, while four area beaches (Savin Hill Beach in Dorchester, Winthrop Beach in Winthrop, King’s Beach in Lynn and Swampscott and Tenean Beach in Dorchester) scored less than 80 percent in 2019. One critical weakness of Chris Dan Steve We Welcome You Back & Wish You Well! * Desktop Humidors * Travel Humidors * Vapes * Juice * Cigar Accessories * Bongs * Lighters & Ash Trays * Glass Pipes * Gift Cards * Rewards Program * Juuls * CBD Infused Products Cigar of the Month! Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Magnum Box of 20 - Only $149.95 Buy your Cigars by the Box & Save! Plus our “Golfers’ Special” 15 Handmade Cigars - Churchill Size including a Cohiba! Only $43.95 STORE HOURS 8 AM - 7 PM Mon. - Sat., Sun. 8 AM - 6 PM the area beach posting and flagging program, in which bacteria testing triggers advisories, is that postings are always a day late because beach managers must wait 24 to 36 hours after a sample is collected to obtain test results. Beach water quality might have already changed significantly during this period, and the prior day’s test does not necessarily reflect current conditions. In 2019, DPH made changes to the beach posting protocols, which resulted in 39 additional days when area beaches were incorrectly flagged as unsafe for swimming, including over the Fourth of July weekend. While Save the Harbor/Save the Bay recognize the importance of protecting public health, the current system is severely flawed and needs to be improved. Although Save the Harbor/Save the Bay had hoped to resolve this situation before the start of the 2020 beach season, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced public agencies, advocates and other stakeholders to – rightly – direct their attention and resources to other pressing public health concerns. As Save the Harbor continues to address the impacts of systemic racism that has too often prevented people of color from fully enjoying the benefits of our shared $5 billion investment in clean water, it is important to note that access to these urban beaches is particularly important to the region’s low-income and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) residents. Later this year and early next year, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will host three forums and a conference on the future of our public beaches, to help our community partners in waterfront neighborhoods and beachfront communities address systemic racism, sea level rise, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which threaten public health and safety. Working with their policy partners at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the state Department of Environmental Protection and DCR, Save the Harbor will also convene a public meeting of their Beaches Science Advisory Committee, to create a shared understanding and consensus among stakeholders and regulators on how to best address the inadequate and inaccurate posting protocols, to both protect public health and preserve public access to clean water. In the interim, instead of simply relying on postings and flags, Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay urges beachgoers to also rely on common sense and the multiyear average included in this report to decide when and where it is safe to swim. And when you are on the beach, be sure to wear a mask and observe the guidance for social distancing – to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19.

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