Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Water Quality - Beach Results

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For the most up-to-date beach status, call the park before you go!

Beach Water Quality and New York State Parks

From the coasts of Long Island, to Buffalo, to pristine lakes in between, New York State parks abound with 67 beaches to enjoy in the summer months. Swimming is a fun and active way to experience our parks and we welcome you to enjoy our designated swim areas, while remembering swim safety.

Water Quality Testing

State Park beaches are sampled at least once a week for bacterial indicators of impaired water quality.

  • Freshwater samples are analyzed for Escherichia coli (E.coli). A result equal to or above 235 E.coli colonies/100 ml represents an exceedance of the state standard.
  • Ocean (saltwater) samples are analyzed for enterococcus. A result equal to or above 104 enterococci colonies/100 ml represents an exceedance of the state standard. For additional information visit: The NYS Department of Health sanitary codeLeaving New York State Parks.

Test results are available approximately 24 hours after the samples are taken, as sample analysis takes approximately 18-24 hours. Results will be posted daily at the park office and posted at the beach when there is an exceedance, results can also be accessed from this page and through a link available on the webpage of each park with a swimming beach.

Current Beach Results

Beach Closures

State Park beaches are closed when there is a known or anticipated risk to public health or safety. Beach signs will be posted and the public notified 18-24 hours after an elevated concentration of bacteria occurs.

The causes of elevated bacteria levels are not always clear. They may be related to land uses in the watershed; stormwater runoff; naturally occurring sand or soil bacteria; or other factors.

Closure decisions are based upon monitoring results in combination with other factors that influence water quality, including water conditions (sewage overflows, cold temperatures, or high waves), environmental conditions (thunderstorms, strong winds), and historical data. This historical data on the frequency of exceedances and the drop-off rates of indicator bacteria from beaches statewide has been used to assign beaches to one of two categories.

  • Category 1: These are beaches with low rates of exceedance, satisfactory resample results within 24 hours, and/or wet sampling results.
  • If these beaches are subject to an exceedance, they are immediately resampled. If other water quality factors are satisfactory at the time of resampling, the beach will remain open and the closure decision will be deferred until the resample results are obtained. The beaches are closed following an exceedance if other water quality factors (such as current weather or beach water conditions) are not satisfactory or if the sample exceeds a second time.
  • Category 2: These are beaches without sufficient resampling data or with unsatisfactory resampling data.
  • At these beaches, an exceedance leads to resampling and an automatic and immediate closure, along with notification of exceedance and alerts issued to the appropriate media outlets.

Common reasons for beach closures include:

  • Exceedance – Bacterial indicator levels exceed the state standard
  • Predicted exceedance: Model – A model based on environmental conditions predicts that water quality is poor
  • Predicted exceedance: Rainfall – Because of recent heavy rain, it is predicted that water quality is poor
  • High waves – Waves or rough conditions
  • Turbidity – Cloudy water that could prevent lifeguards from being able to see swimmers
  • No lifeguard – When lifeguards are not available, beaches are closed
  • Closed for end of season – Beach closed for the season
  • Cold water – Temperatures below 50°F

For more information about water quality testing at New York State Park beaches call or email the
Division of Environmental Stewardship & Planning: (518) 474 0409

For the most up-to-date beach status, call the park office before visiting or download the Parks Explorer app.