Now that summer – or at least the summer beach season – has arrived, state officials are touting the cleanliness of Maryland beaches and peddling a new app designed to inform people about beach conditions.
The Maryland Department of the Environment’s Maryland Healthy Beaches 2019 Progress Report, released a few days ago, showed that Maryland’s 182 monitored beaches met health and safety requirements and were open for swimming 97.4 percent of the time last summer. That’s slightly down from 2017, when beaches were available for swimming 99 percent of the time – but it represents the 14th straight summer that beaches were open at least 96 percent of the time.
Heavier than usual rainfall, which led to more stormwater runoff than usual, likely led to the slight uptick in beach closures, the state report said. Significantly, the beaches at Ocean City have never been closed for environmental conditions since the monitoring program, mandated by federal law, began in 2000.
This year, Marylanders can check out beach conditions on the Maryland Healthy Beaches app for mobile devices, which is available for download from The App Store or Google Play.
“From Memorial Day to Labor Day, information on conditions at the nearly 200 monitored beaches in Maryland is just a tap on a smartphone away,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles.
The Maryland Healthy Beaches website (www.marylandhealthybeaches.com) provides color-coded status reports on beaches throughout the state and daily updates on rainfall, which causes runoff that can affect water quality.