If you went swimming at a Brooklyn beach this holiday weekend, chances are you got a taste of raw sewage. From Coney Island to Manhattan Beach, the waters breaking against Brooklyn are contaminated with high levels of bacteria of the kind that cause dysentery and pink eye, the Brooklyn Paper reports. The waters are worst in the days following storms, when rain floods the sewer system and releases a mixture of water and raw sewage into the bodies of water surrounding the city. “The [National Resources Defense Council] recommends staying away from the beach for a few days after heavy rain,” the Paper reports.
In addition to Coney, the national report found four other Brooklyn beaches with contaminated water: Brighton Beach between Brighton 15th and Sixth streets, Manhattan Beach, Kingsborough Community College, and Kiddie Beach, a private beach in Gerritsen Beach which…had the highest percentage of contaminated water samples in Kings County.
The NRDC came to its conclusions after studying state-supplied water samples. The same samples are also studied by the city’s department of health, which has come to much milder conclusions in the past because the city measures bacteria when beaches are open Memorial Day to Labor Day, while the NRDC based its findings on measurements taken over the course of an entire year.
But who cares what scientists think if you can ascribe disparaging monikers to them? “You can’t get too carried away by what some environmental nuts say,” one Kiddie Beach-lover told the paper.
Well, in fairness to the city, it does seem like the levels between Memorial Day and Labor Day are what is more relevant to everyone but the Polar Bear club.
I went swimming at Jacob Riis Park on the 4th and emerged from the bacterial tide with a nasty stye. Still swollen and looking gross. Beware.
Brooklyn beaches were always filthy. Rockaway is not much better. Remember the medical waste washing up in the 1980s?