Portsmouth's Sandy Point Beach closed to swimmers again

Poor water quality tests cited

By Jim McGaw
Posted 8/22/18

PORTSMOUTH — Sandy Point Beach was once again closed to swimming by the R.I. Department of Health (RIDOH) Friday due to high bacteria levels found in the water.

The town-owned beach was …

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Portsmouth's Sandy Point Beach closed to swimmers again

Poor water quality tests cited

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Sandy Point Beach was once again closed to swimming by the R.I. Department of Health (RIDOH) Friday due to high bacteria levels found in the water.

The town-owned beach was originally closed on Aug. 15 but re-opened the following day after a new round of tests showed the bacteria levels to be within acceptable limits, according to Portsmouth Recreation Director Wendy Bulk.

On Friday, however, the state again closed the beach to swimming after new tests, and it remained closed as of Wednesday of this week.

“We still have to keep the beach closed,” Ms. Bulk said on Wednesday. “Hopefully they’re going to test again and we should know by tomorrow. Hopefully, we will be able to reopen soon.”

The beach is still open to visitors, but no one is being allowed in the water until the swimming ban is lifted.

Last week the beach was covered with dead mussels, which have since been raked away by members of the town’s Department of Public Works.

“The beach looks great now. I’m grateful to our DPW guys. You can’t even see the mussels,” Ms. Bulk said.

It’s unclear whether the mussels were killed by the high bacteria levels, brown algae — also known as a “brown tide” — or something else.

“The Department of Health is not quite sure,” Ms. Bulk said.

RIDOH will continue to monitor and review beach water quality regularly to ensure safe bathing throughout the summer season. The status of a beach may change on a daily basis. 

The most up-to-date beach information is available through a recorded message on RIDOH's beaches telephone line at 401/222-2751.

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