Report: More than 200 Mass. beaches found with high levels of fecal bacteria in 2018

BOSTON (WHDH) - Swimmers are at serious risk of falling ill due to water pollution found at Massachusetts beaches, a new report found.

More than 200 beaches in the Bay State were found at least once in 2018 with levels of fecal bacteria above the “Beach Action Value” threshold set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to the Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center.

Researchers took water samples from 583 beach sites, with tests at 223 sites coming back as potentially unsafe.

The research and policy center says the primary sources of the contamination are sewage overflow and storm water runoff.

“With approximately three billion gallons of sewage going into waterways in Massachusetts every year, we are currently the leader in New England when it comes to actual volume of sewage going into the water,” according to Gabby Queenan, policy director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance.

Ben Hellerstein, state director of the research and policy center added that the main goal of this report is to spread awareness not panic.

“It doesn’t mean that if you swim you’re guaranteed to get sick but it does mean that it is more likely than it would be on a day with lower levels of pollution,” he said.

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