For the third straight year, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach have won five-star beach ratings from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“It’s very good news,” Rehoboth Mayor Sam Cooper said.
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The ratings are part of the council’s annual “Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches” report, which collects and analyzes beach water testing results from the Environmental Protection Agency. The report examines the cause of water pollution on America’s beaches.
Dewey Beach Mayor Diane Hanson said, “I think its fantastic. We’re just thrilled about it. We’ve been trying to make Dewey Beach more family-friendly, and having clean beaches and safe waters are an important thing for families.”
In its report, the council calls for vigilant water testing to help reverse pollution; Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach are both monitored twice a week by Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, with sample results posted on the department’s site. Cooper said frequent testing was a key to Rehoboth’s ranking.
“The biggest part of it is the testing in Delaware is rigorous,” Cooper said.
Delaware was ranked first out of 30 states for its overall water quality.
“Clean water quality and nourished ocean beaches are vital to tourism, job growth and Delaware’s economy,” Gov, Jack Markell said. “Delaware’s ranking as first in the country for swimming water quality and our beautifully-nourished community beaches continue to make our coastal resorts national destinations of choice.”
Rehoboth and Dewey received five stars on the following criteria:
- Less than 5 percent of water samples exceeded national standards in 2010, 2011, and 2012
- Local officials post advisories without re-sampling
- Closings/advisories posted online and at beach
- Water quality is monitored more than once a week
Michael Bott, environmental scientist with DNREC, said the water-quality testing standards, adopted in 2000, check mainly for bacteria, factoring in not just the water but also the environmental and weather conditions on site. He said the state’s high standard of water quality is something that took years to achieve.
Of the five-star rating, Bott said, “It’s always a great thing for the state.”
Other five-star beaches include Gulf Shores Public Beach and Gulf State Park Pavilion in Alabama; Bolsa Chica Beach, Newport Beach and San Clemente State Beach in California; Bay City State Recreation Area in Michigan; Park Point Franklin Park and Lafayette Community Club Beach in Minnesota; and Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands Beach in New Hampshire.
“We’re delighted that Delaware’s State Park beaches continue to be recognized as among the nation’s best and cleanest,” DNREC Director of Division of Parks & Recreation Charles Salkin said. “We strive to offer Delawareans and visitors the best summer experience possible – beautiful landscapes and great facilities and programs, all at very family-affordable prices. Ultimately, this all depends on the quality of our ocean waters.”