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July 3, 2017

Water Conditions at Lake Ontario Beaches are Posted on Website

OSWEGO COUNTY - With the recent high water levels on Lake Ontario, many families are wondering if it's safe to swim at local beaches. People can check the status of Lake Ontario swimming beaches through the state Department of Health website at http://ny.healthinspections.us/ny_beaches/.

The New York State Beach Water Quality website provides up-to-date information on the status and water sample results of public beaches at Mexico Point Park, Selkirk Shores State Park and Sandy Island Beach, and private beaches at Dowie Dale, Chedmardo, Brennan's Beach and Ontario Shores campgrounds in Oswego County. Unregulated beaches on private properties are not tested by the state or county health departments.

"Lake Ontario beaches in Oswego County are tested for bacteria levels every week, weather permitting, by the county health and state parks departments to make sure that the water is safe for swimming," said Natalie Roy, Principal Sanitarian for the Oswego County Health Department. "The website was developed by New York State to inform the public and to meet requirements of the federal Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act coastal monitoring grant program."

Beaches that are monitored by the Oswego County Health Department are included on an interactive map and may be found through a search feature on the site. State park beaches are listed in a separate area of the website and identified through a search feature. The reports include bacteria levels of most recent tests and whether a beach is open, under an advisory, or closed.

"It takes time to culture the bacteria in order to obtain an accurate estimate of their quantity," said Roy. "In most cases, results are reported the day after water samples are taken. Beaches are posted and the public is notified 18 to 24 hours after an elevated concentration of bacteria occurs."

The beach reports website is also linked to www.oswegocounty.com and http://www.oswegocounty.com/health/index.html. For more information, call the Environmental Division of the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3557.

Flood recovery information for property owners, including answers to frequently asked questions and links to homeowner and business assistance, is posted at http://www.oswegocounty.com/legislature/flood%20assistance.html.

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