Beach water quality report raises red flags

BROOKLYN - A water quality report that was released Tuesday by the Natural Resource Council shows that water at several Brooklyn beaches is far from being crystal clear.

According to the report, 14 percent of water samples taken last year at Gerritsen and Kiddie beaches in Brooklyn exceeded health standards for bacteria, while pollution forced them to shut down more than 40 times.

The NRC says people can get sick from swimming in contaminated water because bacteria can cause ear, nose and eye infections and hepatitis.

But the report did not dishearten Thomas Mansuetto, who has been fishing at Gerritsen Beach for the past 35 years and eating his catch of the day, even though he is aware the water is dirty.

"If you do everything in moderation, as far as I can see, it seems to be okay, especially if you catch the fish, clean them and cook them right away,? he says.

Not all Brooklyn beaches fared poorly. According to the report, bacteria level was normal at five locations at Coney Island Beach, which were never closed last summer due to pollution.

The NRC hopes the government will tighten the controls on the treatment of storm water and sewage - two of the leading causes of pollution.

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