New report: Brooklyn’s swimming waters are filthy!

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Swim at your own risk this Fourth of July.

Waters stretching from Manhattan Beach to Coney Island are ridden with dangerously high levels of bacteria, according to a scathing report released this week by an environmental advocacy group, just in time for the long weekend.

Using data off of water samples taken last year by state-commissioned scientists, the Natural Resources Defense Council found that there is raw sewage lurking in the waves that can cause illnesses like dysentery, pink eye and stomach flu.

The result isn’t surprising to one frequent Coney swimmer.

“Coney Island is so gross!” said Johnny Knapp, a surfer who lives in Greenpoint. “Whenever I swim there I feel the filth on me for the whole day.”

In addition to Coney, the national report found four other Brooklyn beaches with contaminated water: Brighton Beach between Brighton 15th and Sixth streets, Manhattan Beach, Kingsborough Community College, and Kiddie Beach, a private beach in Gerritsen Beach which, at 14 percent, had the highest percentage of contaminated water samples in Kings County.

Kiddie Beach’s Shell Bank Creek was allegedly used as a sewer by four local businesses for nearly a decade, and some residents say that this latest news may keep them out of the water for good.

“I’ve always been wary about swimming at the beach, and I would definitely not allow my kids to swim in Kiddie Beach on days when bacteria levels are high,” said local Sharon Rizzoto.

Those days tend to be after storms, when bacteria builds up as a combination of waste and rainwater overflows sewage pipes and floods into beach waters, according to Natural Resources Defense Council spokesman Larry Levine. The agency recommends staying away from the beach for a few days after heavy rain.

The city Health Department studies the same state-issued samples as the Natural Resources Defense Council, but its 2010 report on water quality sang a very different tune: bacteria levels only exceeded state limits at one spot — in the bay between Brighton Sixth and 15th streets — on one day (July 17) last year.

That’s because the city calculates the average amount of bacteria in the samples taken when beaches are open between Memorial Weekend and Labor Day — not year-round, like the National Resources Defense Council report did.

“A large amount of the number of samples that exceed state standards, as reported by Natural Resources Defense Council, are during times when bathing at those beaches is not allowed,” said the Health Department in a written statement. “New York City’s beaches are a haven of safe, clean and healthy recreation during hot summer months.”

Some beach-goers don’t believe the Natural Resources Defense Council’s hype, either, and will swim where they please this summer.

“You can’t get too carried away by what some environmental nuts say,” said Gary Lewis, a Kiddie Beach enthusiast. “I’ve never gotten sick from swimming in Kiddie Beach and I’ll continue to do it.”

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

george from sunset park says:
This old news. The city built sewage treatment plants are a joke. Everynight, on outgoing tide, they flood the waters with untreated waste, hoping they reach the Atlantic Ocean before any body can figure where the stench is from.
July 2, 2011, 2:17 am
Chris from Sunset Park says:
July 2, 2011, 9:06 am
Mat from Marine Park says:
plus a small contribution from people now living on their boats due to the economic slump, I'd bet.
July 2, 2011, 5:44 pm
jill from merine park says:
my cousin get a viral infcetion from kiddy beach
July 5, 2011, 11:02 pm
Charlie sheen says:
July 6, 2011, 9:20 pm
Elon from Williamsburg says:
I love Brighton beach, and finally convinced my wife to come with our 2 year old daughter. My wife and I both got stomach flu and her worst fears were confirmed -- the water is highly contaminated in Brighton Beach. I do not think we will be going back. For me this is a huge disappointment since I loved the restaurants there, and it was so convenient to be able to hop on the subway and go to the beach. Who do you complain to? I would go there and take my own water samples, where do you find out how to get a sampling kit? I want my beaches back -- I used to go every weekend, brooklyn beaches are now out of the question for my family, and everyone loses, including local business:(
Aug. 15, 2013, 8:27 am
Darlene from bensonhurst says:
Why don't they let us know how bad it is so many people have no idea since there no talk about this from radio, Tv, we should be aware all the time on our own area beachs and neighborhood s.
Aug. 17, 2014, 7:32 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.