Dangerously high levels of human waste found at 50 Massachusetts beaches

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health warns swimmers to stay out of water at 50 local beaches after water quality tested at dangerously high levels on Friday.

The beaches span 28 counties in the state and are all being monitored for dangerously high levels of human waste.  

The high levels of waste are likely due to recent rainfall washing bacteria into the water and with almost weekly rainstorms since April the waste runoff is excessive.

“Some of our sewage systems weren’t actually built for the amount of sewage we see this day in age,” said Maureo Fernandez Y Mora, co-director of Clean Water Action.

“Sometimes when it rains the sewage overflows back up and then we get sewage running into water sources. You don’t want to expose yourself to human fecal matter. Ecoli, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses are all things that are associated,” said Fernandez Y Mora.

 The startling announcement from local lifeguards regarding the warning left visitors with little relief.   

“They drove up on the beach with a golf cart and a red flag saying basically swim at your own discretion,” says James, visiting Revere Beach.

With the summer heat beating down, beachgoers were sad to know they couldn’t jump in the ocean and cool off. 

“Not being able to swim during this very hot day is not very good,” said James Martragono, who was visiting Constitution Beach.

“I think it’s sad being out here and not being able to get in the water,” said beachgoer Matthew Gonzalez. “Especially for the kids.”

With today’s warning out, is there a solution for future summers?

“We need to tackle climate change to reduce weather patterns if communities invest in stormwater runoff rain barrels things that reduce amount of rainfall that leads to flooding,” says Y Mora.

According to the Department of public health, this time last year there were less than half as many closures.

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