Community Life
Beach Contamination


Beach Contamination

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 2019, 8.8% 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 4.7% in 2019 and an increase from their rate of 5.5% in 2004. Within the county, Saugus, at 25%, had the highest rate in 2019 - with the next-highest rates of 21% in Lynn and 13% in Beverly.

How do we compare to similar counties?

Middlesex, MA, at 6.1%, had a lower rate of beach contamination than Essex County in 2019.

Notes about the data

No data available for Lake County, IL or Westchester County, NY.

Beach Contamination
2004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Essex County, MA5.5%6.2%6.4%5.7%8.3%10.5%8.9%9.0%5.5%7.7%5.6%6.8%4.3%4.3%7.6%8.8%
Amesbury9.7%0.0%5.4%0.0%4.9%3.6%1.6%1.4%0.0%4.2%0.0%6.3%1.7%4.0%5.6%12.0%
Beverly4.8%1.6%7.7%8.1%7.0%14.2%12.6%10.7%6.6%9.2%9.0%7.9%5.0%7.0%3.4%12.9%
Gloucester4.8%0.0%0.0%0.0%3.5%3.2%5.0%2.6%1.4%1.1%0.0%0.0%2.1%3.7%3.9%4.3%
Haverhill0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%8.3%18.2%7.7%
Lynn35.6%38.2%26.4%17.9%44.9%48.1%25.3%36.9%13.7%17.5%12.3%24.4%17.0%7.8%24.6%21.0%
Methuen3.3%1.8%0.0%4.9%17.4%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%8.3%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%
Newburyport0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%3.1%0.0%7.1%0.0%0.0%8.8%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%
Salem5.9%7.8%11.5%9.9%1.7%7.0%6.1%4.5%2.0%5.8%3.5%4.5%0.0%7.2%4.0%10.8%
Andover0.0%3.1%4.8%4.4%4.2%0.0%0.0%5.7%0.0%7.7%0.0%1.6%1.7%1.7%0.0%0.0%
Boxford0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%7.7%0.0%2.3%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%
Danvers10.5%42.1%22.2%28.6%7.7%16.7%17.6%26.7%14.3%13.3%12.5%10.5%6.3%16.7%25.0%11.1%
Essex11.3%2.0%2.1%4.8%7.5%0.0%6.3%8.8%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%
Georgetown18.2%31.6%4.5%7.1%9.5%5.6%12.5%5.0%10.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%5.3%0.0%4.8%0.0%
Ipswich0.0%0.0%0.0%2.6%0.0%2.9%4.2%2.9%0.0%3.4%3.4%0.0%0.0%1.7%1.7%5.3%
Manchester0.0%2.6%6.4%4.1%8.8%4.8%11.5%7.5%9.2%3.2%1.5%1.6%1.6%3.3%6.8%
Marblehead6.2%12.2%8.4%2.4%1.2%16.4%13.1%6.3%7.1%12.0%5.8%4.0%2.8%1.4%10.3%4.9%
Middleton7.1%0.0%9.1%7.1%6.7%0.0%0.0%6.3%0.0%0.0%17.6%11.8%0.0%0.0%12.5%0.0%
Nahant1.1%9.2%10.5%3.7%4.5%3.5%4.5%6.8%6.0%7.5%2.3%2.8%2.9%1.5%2.8%3.8%
Newbury0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%50.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%
North Andover2.4%4.5%2.4%5.0%7.3%15.6%11.5%3.8%0.0%22.2%14.3%3.7%0.0%2.4%9.1%6.3%
Rockport0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%8.3%0.0%0.0%0.0%2.5%2.5%2.5%
Salisbury0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%8.6%3.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%
Saugus17.2%13.3%16.7%3.3%18.9%5.9%12.1%27.7%21.6%9.4%18.9%8.6%3.3%18.9%3.3%25.0%
Swampscott0.0%7.7%3.4%7.6%3.2%9.7%12.0%10.0%7.8%5.4%1.4%7.7%2.7%5.3%11.3%7.7%
Topsfield0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%
Wenham0.0%0.0%6.7%0.0%18.8%15.4%21.4%7.1%0.0%0.0%4.2%0.0%0.0%0.0%3.7%0.0%
Middlesex County, MA4.3%6.1%4.2%3.0%6.2%2.3%4.9%6.9%3.0%5.3%3.9%5.5%3.4%4.8%6.5%6.1%
Massachusetts4.0%4.3%4.3%3.1%4.9%5.0%5.1%5.8%3.5%4.9%3.5%4.5%3.2%3.9%5.0%4.7%

Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Notes: Rate represents the percent of samples exceeding bacteria threshold.




Number of Samples Exceeding Bacteria Threshold
2004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Essex County, MA79881029012214412813685122891137071129150
Amesbury3040321103041236
Beverly821110102019168121312710520
Gloucester5000224211002445
Haverhill0000000000000121
Lynn21211917535039383141286646206855
Methuen21081500000100000
Newburyport0000010400600000
Salem131522193121083857011619
Andover0123300305011100
Boxford0000001010000000
Danvers2864123422221352
Essex7112302300000000
Georgetown4612213120001010
Ipswich0002023202200113
Manchester0385126151012422249
Marblehead6118212013759422184
Middleton1011100100320020
Nahant1101345458811344245
Newbury0000000000200000
North Andover1112353106410132
Rockport0000000003000111
Salisbury0000000000310000
Saugus546172413837317212
Swampscott0735279864162496
Topsfield000000000000000
Wenham0010323100100010
Middlesex County, MA52695035682454783363436742607874
Massachusetts603656684483758793789915543755525720506612776733

Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health




INDICATORS TREND | ESSEX COUNTY
Prevalence of Overweight Adults Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Preterm Births Increasing
Infant Mortality Rate Maintaining
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Child Abuse and Neglect Increasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Youth Arrests Decreasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employment Maintaining
Tourism Spending Increasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Charitable Contributions Maintaining
Protected Land Not Applicable
Days with Good Air Quality Increasing
Beach Contamination Increasing
Daily Water Use per Resident Decreasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Crimes Against Property Decreasing
Drug-Related Arrests Maintaining
Reports of Domestic Violence Increasing
Incarceration Rates Decreasing
Recidivism Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Traffic Injuries and Fatalities Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
People 65 or Older Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Households by Type Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Gender Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Change in Total Jobs Increasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Increasing
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Median Earnings by Occupation by Gender Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County for Work Not Applicable
Employer Size Not Applicable
Self-Employment Revenue Increasing
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
Female Enrollment in School Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
Per-Student Spending Increasing
Bullying Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Income in Relation to Poverty Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Rate by Household Type Not Applicable
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Households Receiving Federal Food Assistance Decreasing
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Earned Income Tax Credit Participation Decreasing
Economically Disadvantaged Students Increasing
Median Home Value Increasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Homeownership Rates Maintaining
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeless Persons Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Medical Care Expenses Increasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma Maintaining
Prevalence of Overweight Children Maintaining
Diabetes Incidence Decreasing
Chronic Disease Among Older Adults Increasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Cancer Mortality Rate Decreasing
Heart Disease Mortality Rate Decreasing
Mortality Rate Decreasing
People who Smoke Not Applicable
Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Youth Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Not Applicable
Drug Overdose Mortality Rate Increasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Suicide Rate Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable