Regulations on Beach Bacteria Could Keep Swimmers Out of the Water

8/3/14 Quincy, Mass. Beach goers enjoy the sand and surf of Wollaston Beach on Sunday afternoon, August 3, 2014 at Wollaston Beach in Quincy. (Zack Wittman for the Boston Globe)
Beach goers enjoy the sand and surf at Wollaston Beach in Quincy.
(Zack Wittman for the Boston Globe)

New rules from the Environmental Protection Agency on bacteria levels in the water at beaches could mean more alerts about unsafe swimming conditions, The Boston Globe reports.

According to the report, the new regulations would require warnings even when bacteria levels are significantly lower than what would illicit a warning today.

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New federal guidelines issued this week by the Environmental Protection Agency may force the state to update the standard it uses to measure water quality at beaches, potentially resulting in more red flags to alert swimmers to unsafe conditions. The warnings would be required when bacteria counts are as much as 40 percent lower than what the state considers safe today.

The state would be obliged to follow the new regulations, which would take effect in 2016, if it wants to continue receiving nearly $250,000 in federal aid for monitoring water quality at beaches. The state could also qualify for an exemption if it persuades federal officials it has a better way to monitor bacteria in water.

You can read the full Boston Globe report here.