Buffalo, NY – Two beaches in Western New York are closed Friday due to high levels of bacteria.
“Those are not contaminated so much by the greater lake. Its really more contaminated by surface runoff water, sewer overflow, say agriculture overflow," said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale R. Burstein.
“One criteria to close the beaches is that if there is over one inch of rain within 24-hours, then we would want to close the beach because we know from past experiences that there is a likely hood of high E-coli levels in that instance."
According to data obtained from the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council, Woodlawn Beach was closed due to high bacteria levels 36 times in 2013. They note 13 closures in 2012 and 26 closures in 2011.
The study looked at nine other beaches in Erie County. Evans Town Park, Hamburg Bathing Beach and Wendt Beach exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s bacteria levels by 30 percent.
Six beaches in Chautauqua County exceeded the EPA’s levels last year - Wright Park Beach east and west, Point Gratiot Beach east and west, Main Street Beach and Blue Water Beach.
Erie County beach data from NRDC:
Chautauqua County beach data from NRDC: