Bacteria reaches unsafe levels
The Nassau County Department of Health closed 23 beaches Thursday after an expected increase in bacteria levels. The health department reopened all the affected beaches on Friday.As anticipated, heavy rainfall throughout the week led to elevated bacteria counts along many Long Island-area beaches. Storm water runoff can increase bacteria in the water to a level unacceptable for swimming and other water sports, said county health officials.In addition to 18 beaches along the North Shore, a number of South Shore beaches, including Biltmore Beach Club, Hewlett Point, Island Park, Merrick Estates Civic Association and Philip Healey, closed for the day.All Suffolk County beaches remained open, but the health department issued advisory warnings for beachgoers at 69 local beaches. These warnings also expired Friday.Officials warn area residents to avoid areas of storm water runoff. "We want people to be on the lookout for brown, dirty water because of the rainfall," said health department spokeswoman Wendy Ladd.For more information, please call 516.571.3680.