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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: June 30, 2011
CONTACT: Jim Martin, NHDES, 603 271-3710
Amy Bassett, NH Parks and Recreation, 603 271-2665

New Hampshire Coastal Beaches Named 1st in the Nation in Water Quality by NRDC
Hampton Beach State Park Beach is a Superstar Beach; Rated the Cleanest Beach in Nation

Concord, NH – The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has named New Hampshire coastal beaches first in beach water quality. The NRDC has published its 21st Annual “Testing the Waters” report analyzing beach data reported to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by coastal and Great Lakes states. The NRDC report gave a new "Superstar Beach" rating to Hampton Beach State Park in New Hampshire and to two beaches in Delaware and to one in Minnesota. These beaches not only received the highest (5-star) rating, but had perfect testing results for the past three years, indicating a history of very good water quality.

Only 1 percent of 1,138 samples collected at coastal New Hampshire beaches during 2010 exceeded the state standard of 104 counts of Enterococci/100 ml of water. New Hampshire again ranked first among the 30 states that are part of the EPA’s beach monitoring program.

“The NRDC’s high marks for New Hampshire’s coastal beaches are testament to the collaborative efforts of DES, NH Parks and Recreation and the local communities that host the beaches,” said DES Commissioner Tom Burack. “It is not by accident that New Hampshire has excellent water quality and a high quality of life. It takes a combination of dedication, good public policy, and resources on the state and local levels to achieve these outstanding results.”

Other beaches in the report that scored high marks were a 5 star rating for Wallis Sands Beach at Wallis Road and a 4 star rating for Wallis Sands Beach State Park.

“Certainly, this designation reconfirms the cooperation that is taken to provide a clean beach experience. We appreciated the Department of Environmental Service’s efforts in helping to keep our waters clean,” stated Commissioner George Bald, Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED). Part of Bald’s agency, the Division of Parks and Recreation is responsible for the management of this area. “Hampton Beach State Park hosts hundreds of thousands visitors a year, we are proud to offer them a Superstar Beach.”

New Hampshire residents should be proud of our coastal water quality and strive to maintain these levels. Simple steps everyone can take throughout the coastal watershed will prevent beach pollution. Everyone can help by picking up pet waste, maintaining septic systems, putting swim diapers with plastic covers on babies, and keeping trash off the beach. Together, everyone can work to maintain New Hampshire’s top rated beaches.

The NHDES Beach Inspection Program monitors the water at New Hampshire public swimming beaches from late May until early September. Personnel collect water for analysis at coastal and freshwater beaches. The water samples are analyzed for fecal bacteria to protect public health. For more information visit the programs website: Also updates on current beach advisories and warnings can be found on the DES website, under the Alerts button. Residents can also sign up to receive notifications about beach advisories at the DES ENews subscription service,, or by following the NHDES Beaches Twitter feed at:

The Division of Parks and Recreation is comprised of the Bureau of Park Operations, Bureau of Historic Sites, Bureau of Trails, and Cannon Mountain. The Division manages 92 properties, including state parks, beaches, campgrounds, historic sites, trails, waysides, and natural areas. The Division of Parks and Recreation is one of four divisions of the Department of Resources and Economic Development. To learn more, visit or call 603 271-3556.

To review the NRDC report, visit:

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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