Local officials testing if your favorite places to swim are safe this summer
BERLIN, Md. – With the warmer weather here to stay, you might be tempted to take a dip in your local lake or creek. But is the water safe to swim in? Well, that’s an answer local officials are working around the clock to find out, so you can stay safe this summer.
From now until Labor Day weekend, Assateague Coast Keepers have a critical job to do this summer. Once a week, they’ll be heading out to test the water quality throughout the Maryland Coastal Bay Region.
“We test for a bacteria called enterococci which can cause stomach distress, sinus infections, if those levels are elevated,” says Assateague Coastal Trust Executive Director, Kathy Phillips.
It’s an in-depth process that provides valuable information. Once water samples are collected, officials say they process that data to determine if the water quality is safe.
“If water quality is poor enough that we are seeing elevated levels of enterococci then that means other bacteria is my also be surviving in the water,” Phillips said.
But the work doesn’t stop there. Officials then send their reports of the water quality to the Swim Guide App where people can easily check to see if they’ve got the green light to go out on the water, or not.
“It makes it very easy for people to quickly just check the quality of the water that they’re going to be recreating for the day,” said Assateague Coastal Trust Communications Director, Billy Weiland.
“If it’s a little green flag you are safe to get in the water. If it’s a red flag then we just advise you to take caution,” said Phillips.
So what can we do to make sure our water remains clean?
“Reducing the amount of fertilizer that we use on the lawns, maintaining those protective boundaries and the marshes and stuff that help keep the health of the water,” Weiland said.
Officials add that by continuously monitoring the water quality, they’re ensuring the lakes and bays we love so much on the eastern shore, remain a safe place to swim. They also say that they update swim guide app almost weekly. If you want it, it’s available to download on your Apple or Android device.