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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: June 25, 2014
CONTACTS:
Jim Martin, NHDES, 603-271-3710
Amy Bassett, NH Parks and Recreation, 603 271-2665

Three New Hampshire Beaches Rated Tops in the Nation

Concord, NH – As part of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) annual Testing the Waters report, three New Hampshire beaches — Hampton Beach State Park, Wallis Sands Beach at Wallis Road, and Wallis Sands State Park beach— have been listed as “superstar” beaches. Out of a list of hundreds of popular coastal beaches nationwide, only 35 beaches, including 3 from New Hampshire, received superstar status. These superstar beaches were identified by NRDC as having consistently and exceptionally clean water quality with low exceedance rates of relevant public health benchmarks in the last five years. Specifically, each "superstar" has 2% or less exceedances in 2013 of the beach action values identified by EPA as a safe beach water threshold, and had 2% or less exceedances in 2009-2012 of the then-applicable national standard.

Only one percent of 1041 samples collected at coastal NH beaches during 2013 exceeded the state standard of 104 counts of Enterococci/100 ml of water. New Hampshire ranks second out of 30 states that are part of the EPA's beach monitoring program. “Considering that 2013 was a difficult year for water quality because of numerous heavy rain events, New Hampshire residents can be proud of our coastal water quality and our efforts to maintain these levels. Everyone can take simple steps to prevent beach pollution in all locations. Picking up pet waste, maintaining septic systems, putting swim diapers with plastic covers on babies and keeping trash off the beach can help keep our waters clean. By working together, we can have even more “superstar” beaches in New Hampshire,” noted NHDES Commissioner Tom Burack.

The NHDES Beach Inspection Program monitors the water at New Hampshire public swimming beaches from late May until early September. Personnel collect water for analysis at coastal and freshwater beaches. The water samples are analyzed for fecal bacteria to protect public health. For more information visit the programs website: http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/beaches/index.htm.

“Certainly, this designation reconfirms the cooperation that is taken to provide a clean beach experience,” stated Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED). Commissioner Jeffrey Rose, Part of Rose’s agency, the Division of Parks and Recreation is responsible for the management of this area. “Hampton Beach and Wallis Sands State Parks hosts hundreds of thousands visitors a year, we are proud to offer them Superstar Beaches.”

Updates on current beach advisories and warnings can be found on the DES website, www.des.nh.gov under the Alerts button. Residents can also sign up to receive notifications about beach advisories at the DES ENews subscription service, http://des.nh.gov/media/enews/index.htm, or by following the NHDES Beaches Twitter feed at: http://twitter.com/NHDES_Beaches. Also new this year, NHDES has launched the New Hampshire Coastal Atlas, an internet based product with information on shellfish harvest opportunities and closures, beach swimming advisories, and coastal public access sites. The mobile version includes a geo-location feature to help users get directions to where they want to go. For more info and to visit the Atlas, go to: http://xml2.des.state.nh.us/CoastalAtlas/

For information on New Hampshire State Beaches or other state park information, visit www.nhstateparks.org.

To review the NRDC report and list of superstar beaches, visit: http://www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/beach-superstars.asp


NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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