A new web tool has revealed that sewage contamination has made swimming risky at a number of popular locations, including Norwalk and New Haven.
The Sound Health Explorer, a tool launched by the Save the Sound group, is an interactive map that paints a picture of water quality trends at Long Island Sound Beaches.
Save the Sound said it uses data from health departments in Connecticut, Westchester and Long Island.
The group hopes that people and municipalities use the information to identify dangers and start fixing them.
"With the Sound Health Explorer, citizens will have, for the first time, a clear picture of how far we have to go,” said Curt Johnson, executive director of Save the Sound. “Folks need to look no further than their own neighborhoods and communities for the problems, but also for the solutions.”
The explorer grades beaches on an “A” to “F” scale.
The grades are based on how often a beach has failed federal bacterial pollution standards over the past decade.
“This tool can help decision-makers determine which communities are in most need of funding, innovative green infrastructure, or even legal enforcement,” said Leah Lopez Schmalz, Save the Sound program director. “Over time, the Sound Health Explorer will help ensure all of the beaches along our shoreline are safe for swimming each and every day."
The group said health risks associated with swimming in contaminated waters include viral, parasitic and bacterial infections. Symptoms can include diarrhea, pink eye, ear infections and skin irritation. More serious problems can occur in children, the elderly or people with weak immune systems.
To check out the tool, click here.
Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.