Update, Sunday, June 15: The beaches have reopened!
Heavy rain on Friday has forced the closure of 10 Long Island Sound beaches in Westchester County today, Saturday, June 14.
The 10 are the public beaches at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck and Hudson Park in New Rochelle, and Beach Point Club, Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club, Shore Acres and Orienta Club in Mamaroneck; Echo Bay Club, Davenport Club, and Greentree Club in New Rochelle; and Coveleigh Club in Rye.
The Westchester County Health Department preemptively closes those beaches each time it rains a half-inch or more within 24 hours. The stormwater carries sewage – mainly from old, deteriorating sewer pipes from communities along the Sound and further inland – into tributaries of the Sound and storm sewers, which discharge near the 10 beaches.
The problem is chronic. The Health Department first began preemptive closings at Harbor Island in 1985. Last summer, 136 beach days were lost on Westchester’s Sound beaches because of pollution (to calculate beach days, we multiply the number of beaches by the number of days they were closed).
You can find out how you can help by reading about our new Long Island Sound Pledge program, and then choosing a way to get involved.
We started our Sound Swim Alerts for Westchester last summer. The Alerts are a regular notice of which beaches are closed and which open, and where you can go on a hot day to safely cool off in the waters of Long Island Sound.
Our purpose is to help you plan your outings. But we also intend to help solve the decades-old problem of bacterial pollution at local beaches by calling attention to it and highlighting what needs to be done. We’ll hold local governments accountable for not fixing their sewers and celebrate the occasions when residents and government agencies take positive steps to make Long Island Sound safer and cleaner.
Each weekend morning and on holidays we will post a notice here on Green Cities Blue Waters telling you if the beaches are open. We’ll also post it on our Facebook page and on Twitter (@savethesound).
If the beaches are closed, we’ll take the additional step of alerting you via email. We’ll also do this if the beaches are shut down on a weekday. (Sign up for our email alerts here.)
There’s more information here about why some beaches are shut down and others aren’t.