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Heavy Rains Prompt Closures, Warnings

July 25, 2008

By John Valenti and David J. Lopez, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.

Jul. 25–Heavy rains over the past two days have prompted Long Island health officials to close or advise against bathing at scores of area beaches as a precautionary measure.

The Nassau County Department of Health ordered the closing of 18 North Shore beaches and four South Shore beaches, officials said. It is unclear when the beaches will be reopened.

In a news release, health officials said the measure — which affected many Sound, bay and harbor beaches along eastern Nassau’s North Shore, and some South Shore bay beaches — was a precaution in the wake of heavy rainfall because “storm water runoff can have a negative impact by elevating bacteria levels.”

In Suffolk, officials issued an advisory against bathing at 63 beaches, including those along the northern shoreline of the Great South Bay, those within and adjacent to various North Shore bays, and Long Island Sound beaches that are directly impacted by storm water discharges.

The health department said it issued the advisory because the downpours may have the potential to elevate bacterial levels in the waters in excess of state standards. The advisory does not effect beaches not directly influenced by stormwater runoff, including those on the Atlantic Ocean, the Peconic Estuary and Long Island Sound.

In addition, three Suffolk beaches remain closed to bathing after sample results showed elevated bacteria levels: Bayport Beach in Bayport, Minasseroke Beach in Strongs Neck and Tanner Park Beach in Copiague.

The waters will be tested again today, a spokeswoman said.

Staff writer Laura Rivera contributed to this story.Beach closure

information

Suffolk residents can call 631-852-5822.

Nassau residents may call the county Health Department’s office of recreational facilities from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. weekdays at 516-227-9717.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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