Swimming Pools & Bathing Beaches
Swimming Pools & Bathing Beaches
The Pool and Beach Program regulates and inspects the operation of public pools, beaches, and recreational spray grounds that are permitted by Nassau County Department of Health.
For general inquiries, complaints, or reports of illness or injury, please call our office at 516-227-9717.
Blank safety plans, daily pool log sheet, and the injury or illness form can be found in the links below:
- Pool Safety Plan
- Bathing Beach Safety Plan
- Recreational Aquatic Spray Grounds Safety Plan
- Daily Pool Log
- Injury/Illness form
For inquiries regarding new construction and/or renovation of a facility, please contact the Bureau of Environmental Engineering at 516-227-9672.
For information regarding lifeguard exams and certifications, please contact the Nassau County Department of Parks and Recreation at 516-572-6591.
Beach Water Monitoring Program
The residents of Nassau County are fortunate to be surrounded on our North and South shores by miles of beautiful and accessible beaches. There are over 60 permitted beaches in the County including South Shore Ocean beaches located on the Atlantic Ocean, North Shore beaches situated on the shores of the Long Island Sound as well as numerous beaches located along bays and harbors. These beaches provide Nassau County residents, their friends and family as well as visitors to the County with a valued resource for bathing and other waterfront recreational activities. Overall these beaches provide a clean, safe and hospitable source of recreation for the tens of thousands of patrons that visit them each season.
Occasionally the beaches are impacted by events that can negatively affect the water quality and put bathers at risk for illness or other potential adverse responses. Stormwater runoff may represent the single greatest factor that may negatively impact beach water quality. Beach water quality can also be influenced negatively by local populations of waterfowl and migratory birds that no longer migrate on a regular basis. Local conditions can also negatively impact beach water quality. Failed or improperly functioning septic systems, sewage spills, boating and local currents and tidal conditions as well as naturally occurring phenomena can all be factors in determining beach water quality. It is for this reason that the Nassau County Department of Health conducts a beach water monitoring program of all permitted beaches operating within the county.
From April through September the Nassau County Department of Health’s Office of Recreational Facilities conducts a Bathing Beach water monitoring program. Utilizing Health Department Public Health Sanitarians and Summer Interns as well as local government and private environmental organizations, water samples are collected on a regular basis for analysis by the Nassau County Department of Health’s state certified Laboratory. Utilizing the presence of Indicator Organisms, a determination can be made as to the potential risk of the presence of organisms that may represent a health risk to bathers.
In the event of elevated bacterial levels, the Nassau County Department of Health will direct a beach to close and then follow-up by conducting additional samples to determine when the beach may reopen.
At certain beaches known to be impacted by storm water runoff, a bathing advisory will be issued when rainfall amounts of ½ inch or more occur. Historical records for Nassau County have shown that rainfall amounts of a ½ inch or more can adversely affect the beach water quality and result in elevated bacterial levels. Most advisories are lifted after 24 hours if no additional rainfall occurs.
For up-to-date recorded information on beach openings and closings, call 516-227-9700.
Common illnesses associated with swimming in contaminated water
Some of the most common illnesses or responses associated with swimming in contaminated waters include:
- Gastrointestinal illnesses that may result in nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
- Upper respiratory illnesses that may cause inflammation, infections and irritation to mucus membranes of the nose and throat.
- Inflammation, infections and irritation of the ears, eyes, and skin.
The degree or severity of illness may depend upon the overall age and health of the bather as well as the existence of risk factors such as compromised immune systems. Additionally, the length of exposure can impact the severity of response as well.
Q. When is monitoring performed?
A. Monitoring typically begins in early April and continues through Labor Day.
Q. What is a regulated beach?
A. All public and some semi-private beaches operating within the County are required to operate under permit to the Nassau County Department of Health. In addition to conducting water quality monitoring these beaches are inspected by Health Department personnel to ensure compliance with the New York State Sanitary Code (NYSSC), Subpart 6-2.
The Nassau County Department of Health advises that bathing should only be conducted at regulated beaches where the water quality is known, and appropriate aquatic supervision is provided.
Q. How often is the water quality tested?
A. Beaches in Nassau County are tested using a risk-based approach. Utilizing historical data, the Nassau County Department of Health has classified all beaches operating within the County into three (3) tiers. Those beaches that have historically demonstrated poor water quality are sampled once or twice a week. Lower risk beaches such as those situated on the Atlantic Ocean are typically sampled less frequently.
Q. What does sampling test for?
A. Based upon guidelines from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NYSSC, Subpart 6-2 the Nassau County Department of Health is testing for an indicator organism known as Enterococci. The presence of Enterococci in bathing water may indicate the presence of fecal contamination and an increased risk of potential pathogenic (disease causing) organisms.
Q. Where are the samples tested?
A. All samples are analyzed by the Nassau County Department of Health Lab, which is approved by the New York State Department of Health to conduct beach water quality testing.
Q. What are some sources of bacteria in the water?
A. Leaking septic systems, illegal sewage connections and sewage treatment plant outflows can all negatively impact bathing beach water quality. Illegal dumping by boaters, animal waste from dogs and birds and storm water runoff may also contribute to poor water quality.
Q. What does an “Advisory” mean?
A. The Nassau County Department of Health will issue an “Advisory” for specific beaches known to be impacted by stormwater runoff after a rainfall event of ½” or greater in a 24-hour period. During an “Advisory” swimming and wading are not recommended! The bathing water may be contaminated by stormwater runoff which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and respiratory illness. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and chronically ill individuals are at higher risk. Please be advised that the beach operator may decide to close the beach for bathing when an advisory is in effect.
Q. What does a “Closure” mean?
A. The Nassau County Department of Health will issue a “Closure” anytime there is a known risk to the bathing public. Known risks can include, but not be limited to; sampling results that exceed Federal and/or New York State standards, sewage spills, harmful algae blooms or other conditions that are determined to pose a direct risk to bathers.
Q. Can you still go to the beach during a “Closure”?
A. You can still go to the beach and engage in any activity as long as it does not involve entering the water in any way.
Q. Where can I find out if my beach has been closed or is under an advisory?
A. Beach closure/advisory information can be found on the Nassau County Department of Health’s website or by calling our 24-hour recorded beach information line at 516-227-9700
Beach closures/advisories may also be announced by local media or you can phone 516-227-9717 Monday – Friday 9:00am – 4: 45pm.for further information.
Q. What is swimmer’s itch?
A. Swimmer’s itch is a dermatitis that develops on exposed areas of the skin after contact with waters containing cercaria (larval forms) of avian schistosomes (parasitic flatworms). These parasites are released from infected snails (usually mud snails) into the water. While the parasite’s preferred host is waterfowl, if the parasite comes in contact with a swimmer, it burrows into the skin and causes an allergic reaction. Swimmer’s itch is found worldwide and is more common in summer months.
For further information on swimmer’s itch, please visit:
Q. What are the signs and symptoms of swimmer’s itch?
A. Symptoms of swimmer’s itch may include tingling, burning, or itching of the skin, small reddish pimples or small blisters. Itching may last up to a week or more. Repeated exposure usually results in increased sensitivity.
Q. What is the treatment for swimmer’s itch?
A. If you believe you may have contracted swimmer’s itch (or any other aquatic dermatitis), it is recommended that you seek your Health Care Provider’s advice for treatment. Most cases do not require medical attention. Topical anti-itch and antihistamine medications may be prescribed to relieve symptoms.
Q. What is sea-bathers eruption?
A. Sea-bather's eruption is an itching dermatitis that typically appears on covered areas of the skin (under bathing suits, shirts, long hair) caused by a hypersensitivity reaction to the immature nematocysts of larval-stage thimble jellyfish (Linuche unguiculata), sea anemones (Edwardsiella lineata) and other larval cnidarians. Initial swimmer exposure to the free-floating larvae produces no effects, as each organism possesses only a single undeveloped nematocyst (stinging cell) which is inactive while suspended in seawater. Once the swimmer leaves the seawater, the organisms stuck against the skin die and automatically discharge their nematocysts when crushed, dried out, or exposed to freshwater causing the irritation.
Q. What are the signs and symptoms of sea-bathers eruption?
A. Sea-bathers eruption is identified by severe itching around small red papules located on areas of skin that were covered by water-permeable clothing or hair during swimming in seawater. Symptoms generally arise later after one takes a shower or dries off. It is unusual to notice the eruptions immediately. Symptoms can last from a few days up to two weeks.
Q. What are the treatments for sea-bathers eruption?
A. Treatment of sea-bathers eruption is the same as with swimmer’s itch. If you think you may have contracted sea-bathers eruption (or any other aquatic dermatitis), it is recommended to seek your Health Care Provider’s advice for treatment.
Q. What should you do if you become ill from swimming at a Bathing Beach?
A. If you experience illness symptoms after bathing, you should seek medical advice from your Health Care Provider. You should also notify the Nassau County Department of Health’s Office of Recreational Facilities, so that any needed follow-up studies or investigations may be conducted to prevent any further illness from occurring.
Q. What should you do if you see medical waste at the beach?
A. Medical waste typically accounts for a small percentage of the waste that may wash ashore at the beach and is extremely rare. All medical waste including syringes and needles should be handled with care to avoid exposure. It is strongly recommended that any discovery of medical waste at the beach be reported to the beach operator/management for proper disposal.
In the event of an accidental puncture by a syringe/needle, please contact your Health Care Provider immediately.