What does this measure?
The percentage of water samples from public and semi-public (i.e. campgrounds, hotels, country clubs) beaches tested by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that were found to have greater levels of bacteria than what is considered safe for bathing.
Why is this important?
Essex County has many of the over 1,000 marine and freshwater public and semi-public bathing beaches in the state. Clean beach water helps to fuel tourism and provide recreation activities for residents, contributing to the overall well-being of the community.
How is our county doing?
In 2015, 6.8% of the water samples tested from local beaches exceeded the level of what is considered a safe amount of bacteria for bathing. This is higher than the state rate of 4.5% in 2015 and an increase from their rate of 5.5% in 2004. Within the county, Lynn, at 24%, had the highest rate by far in 2015 - double the next-highest rates of 12% in Middleton and 11% in Danvers.
How do we compare to similar counties?
Middlesex, MA, at 4.5%, had a lower rate of beach contamination than Essex County in 2015, however both had similar declines in rate since 2004.
Notes about the data