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Little Neck Bay report by DOH incomplete

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I am writing this as a sequel to your July 17 front page article "Don't swim, sit in Little Neck Bay."

Anybody with a computer can log on to the city Department of Health Web site at www.nyc.gov/health/beach and click on "North Queens" on the map provided and the "Douglas Manor Association" link to find statistics on weekly bacteria levels stretching back to May.

When people read about a fresh water beach, they think about a lake. Little Neck Bay is not a lake, but a salt water tidal area. This means that for half a day there is no water over the beach. How then can the DOH average in a 30-day geometric average with a zero?

On another Web page, the DOH explained a high bacteria count as the result of a "wet weather advisory," but noted it did not list the day or time the water sample was collected. Very critical facts are omitted from its report.

This is another example of the DOH's misleading statistics. Rainfall date and amounts are not included in the report. This can be a factor in swimming beach water quality. Why was it left out?

Another reason for reporting the actual date and time the water sample was collected is the activity of people at and around the dock and swimming area, like the proximity of boats. It is known that some boats have toilets. The law forbids discharging toilets into the bay.

As you read the DOH report of single-day results, note the sudden spikes in these results. One must be left asking, "Could a boater have been discharging waste water into the bay?" If so, all boat waste water never reaches the Alley Creek combined sewer overflow restoration facility. It just spreads out in all directions as the tide flows.

The last paragraph of the Ledger's article stated that the city system takes home waste water and combines it with rain water What is not mentioned here is that home waste water in Douglas Manor does not go to the city sewer system, but the ground in cesspools.

As the very low bacteria counts show, the cesspools are not responsible for high bacteria counts in the bay water, which fluctuate. The 30-day geometric average numbers the DOH included in its report obscure the fact of the single-day results, which are the waters swimmers use.

Posted 6:39 pm, October 10, 2011
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