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Public Beaches

Monitoring hundreds of salt and freshwater beaches to protect public safety.

waves crash on an empty beachNew Hampshire has hundreds of salt and freshwater beaches that are available for public bathing. The NHDES Public Beach Inspection Program monitors coastal beaches and many popular inland beaches regularly throughout the summer months for water-borne pathogens in order to evaluate the potential for health risks. The program makes these results available daily so the public can make informed decisions about where to swim.

Beach Bacteria and Cyanobacteria Advisories

Bacteria of many types can present potential health risks to humans, pets and livestock. NHDES tracks the presence and concentrations of harmful bacteria in the state’s public waters and alerts the public in a variety of ways. The advisory map is updated throughout the summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Press releases are issued for all cyanobacteria advisories, and alerts and advisories are posted on the Beach Inspector Twitter account.

If you or someone in your family (including pets!) becomes ill or develops a rash after recreating at one of New Hampshire's public beaches, lakes, or rivers, you should first consult with your doctor. You can then submit a detailed report to help us track waterborne illnesses.

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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Many beach maintenance activities, such as beach sand replenishment in coastal and freshwater areas, require a Wetlands Permit. Use the Tidal Beach Maintenance Worksheet or the Construction of Water Access Structures and Beach Replenishment Worksheet to help plan your project!

New Public Beach Construction

State law (RSA 485-A:26) requires the submittal of a form and a fee to NHDES prior to construction of a new public beach.

New Hampshire law (RSA 485-A:8) provides standards for the state’s water quality.

  • The standard at freshwater swimming beaches is 88 counts of E. coli per 100 milliliters of water (counts/100 ml) in a single sample. Beach advisories are issued at freshwater beaches when either two samples taken at a beach exceed the standard or when one sample exceeds 158 counts/100 ml.
  • The standard at marine swimming beaches is 104 counts of Enterococci per 100 mL of water (counts/100 ml) in a single sample. Beach advisories are issued at coastal beaches when either two samples taken at a beach exceed the standard or when one sample exceeds 174 counts/100 ml."

How do I get all the results from the sampling at my beach? 
Beach data can be found at the NHDES OneStop database. Follow these instructions:

  • Begin at the OneStop Data Search webpage.
  • Under "Areas of Interest" select "Beaches."
  • Under "Location" select name of Town/City, or County if desired.
  • Under "Beaches" select any variables desired to limit search results.
  • Select "Enter" to obtain a list of beaches that match your search.
  • On the results page, click "Show" to find individual beach information, advisories, and sample results.

For more information, email [email protected] or contact the program coordinator below.

 

Watershed-Management
Program Coordinator
[email protected]