Update: Water-quality advisory for Rehoboth Beach lifted

Third time in a month DNREC testing shows high bacteria levels near stormwater outfalls
August 23, 2022

Story Location:
Rehoboth Avenue Beach
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has lifted the recreational water-quality advisory for Rehoboth Beach that was issued Aug. 23. It was the third advisory in the past month.

DNREC had issued the latest advisory for the beaches around Rehoboth and Virginia avenues. The advisories were sent out following bacterial testing results that above the recreational water quality standard. The first advisory of this summer was issued July 28, the second was Aug. 4.

Shortly after DNREC issued the advisory Aug. 24, Lynne Coan, city spokesperson, issued a notice saying the area of concern stretched from Pennsylvania Avenue to Stockley Street.

In an email Aug. 24, Coan said the state’s testing sites are at Rehoboth and Virginia avenues, but when an advisory is issued, it’s for a certain radius around the testing site. In this case, she said, those areas are Pennsylvania to Baltimore avenues for the Virginia Avenue site and Baltimore Avenue to Stockley Street for the Rehoboth Avenue site.

DNREC uses enterococcus bacteria levels to determine the need for recreational swimming advisories in Delaware, with the threshold beginning at greater than 104 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters. According to the sample data found online, there were 313 colony-forming units at Virginia Avenue during a test Aug. 22. The same data shows 160 colony-forming units at Rehoboth Avenue.

Prior to this month-long stretch, DNREC data set shows Rehoboth had not had a bacteria-related advisory since August 2020.

According to the DNREC press release, these bacteria most likely originate from wildlife sources, and increased rainfall, stronger waves or wildlife feeding near the surf (shorebirds, marine mammals, other warm-blooded animals) can result in these indicator bacteria washing into near-shore waters.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a comment from the city and to show that the advisory has been lifted.

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