Water quality woes are common at Mass. beaches, new report says

Boston Globe
Chris Lisinski

Water at more than 200 Massachusetts beaches tested positive for potentially hazardous levels of bacteria last year, environmental advocates announced Tuesday, prompting calls for new regulations to better manage sewer systems.

Many of the locations had concentrations of fecal bacteria above federally recommended limits on at least one day, and some demonstrated potentially unsafe water on as many as half of the days they were tested, according to a new report from the Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center and the Frontier Group.

While quality has improved in many of the state's waterways, particularly around Boston, advocates said it is crucial to address the causes of still-frequent pollution to minimize the risk of illness.

"Swimming at the beach is a favorite summertime experience for so many families, but clearly we have more work to do to make sure the water at all of our beaches is safe," Environment Massachusetts State Director Ben Hellerstein said in a statement. "We must invest in water infrastructure that prevents pollution to ensure that Massachusetts' beaches are safe for swimming."