Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer and soon Winthrop residents will flock to area beaches to soak up the sun and take a dip in the ocean.
In a new report by the leading Boston Harbor environmental advocacy group ranked Winthrop Beach in the Top 10 on its water quality report card.
Save the Harbor / Save the Bay released the report on the regionâ€™s public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket and Winthrop Beach scored 100% in 2012.
The score was the result of assessed water quality conditions at the beach and the group looked at the percentage of tests exceeding the state swimming standard of 104 cfu/100ml.
The score means Winthrop Beach is one of the cleanest and safest to swim at during the summer months.
â€œ2012 wasÂ a good year for most of the Boston Harbor regionâ€™s publicÂ beaches, with more than half earning either an A or an A plus,â€Â said Director of Strategy, Communications andÂ Programs at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay Bruce Berman. â€œIt was also a dry year, which explains most of theÂ changes we saw from 2011. Bacterial pollution is often caused byÂ storm water discharges that accompany summer showers, squallsÂ and storms, so less rain means cleaner water.â€
The results of Winthrop Beachâ€™s water quality were made public at the initial meeting of Save the Harborâ€™s Beaches Science Advisory Committee Sunday. The committee was convened to conduct a systematic review of water quality and beach flagging accuracy on the regionâ€™s public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket.
FlaggingÂ accuracy improved somewhat in 2012, as a direct result of Department of Conservation and Recreationâ€™sÂ continuing efforts to develop more accurate models for beachÂ management on a beach-by-beach basis.
â€œWhileÂ specificity (blue flag accuracy) is fairly high on many beaches,Â sensitivity (red flag accuracy) continues to be problematic,Â with less than 50% of the red flags posted correctly on someÂ beaches in 2012.,â€ said Berman. â€œThis issue needs to beÂ addressed if we are to protect both the publicâ€™sÂ health and their right to enjoy the benefits of our regionâ€™sÂ pubic investment in clean water and better beaches.â€
In 2013,Â Save the Harbor will continue to work with the MetropolitanÂ Beaches Commission (MBC), the DCR, MWRA, EPA, DEP, theÂ Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the BeachesÂ Science Advisory Committee to develop more accurate models toÂ better predict when to post or flag a beach.
â€œAt SaveÂ the Harbor/Save the Bay our goal is clean water and not simplyÂ better models or faster and more accurate test results,â€ said Berman. â€œWe areÂ working towards the day when there is no need for flags at all.â€
You canÂ download the report card, see the data and learn more about the methodology on which the report card is based at www.savetheharbor.org/beachesreportcard.