The Blue Water Task Force is Surfrider’s volunteer water quality monitoring program that provides critical water quality information to protect public health at the beach. Surfrider chapters use this program to raise awareness of local pollution problems and to bring together communities to implement solutions.
Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) labs measure fecal indicator bacteria levels in recreational waters and compare them to water quality standards set to protect public health. Chapter-run BWTF programs fill in the gaps and extend the coverage of agency-run beach monitoring programs by sampling ocean and bay beaches, estuaries and potential freshwater sources of pollution such as stormwater outlets, rivers and creeks that discharge onto the beach.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the NYC Health Department tests city beaches weekly for waste bacteria and closes beaches when results are above a threshold. The Blue Water Task Force in New York City augments the seasonal sampling provided by the NYC Health Department by providing year-round water quality information in Rockaway Beach.
Unfortunately, our aging local waste treatment plants go into “bypass mode” when it rains above 1/4 inch, dumping untreated waste into bays adjacent to both Rockaway and Long Beach. The data we collect over the long term will illustrate water quality issues to local elected officials and municipalities. They have the responsibility of keeping our waste processing facilities working in a way that protects our beaches, and preserves the economic engine our coastal recreation areas provide.
You can view our water quality testing results using the module above, and/or follow us for updates on Instagram at @surfridernycwater.
If you are interested in becoming a BWTF volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org