The Rhode Island Department of Health is responsible for the licensing and compliance of bathing beach facilities in the State. This includes both fresh and salt water beaches.
All licensed facilities are required to collect pre-opening samples. These samples are necessary to determine if you area is suitable for swimming. New sources of contamination can happen at anytime. After closing for the winter you need to ensure your facility is not impacted and is ready for the summer season. Pre-opening samples are in addition to the required sampling schedule sent out in your facility’s packet at the start of each season. No facility is to open without submitting the pre-opening samples. Such samples should be collected the week before you plan to open, regardless of the date.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s recommendation is for beach water samples to be collected between knee and waist deep, and at least one foot below the surface of the water.
Most laboratories will collect, transport, and analyze beach samples if directed. Please contact a state certified laboratory of your choice to make appropriate arrangements. If you choose, you may collect and transport samples to an approved laboratory.
At any time, if a sample exceeds the single sample standard (104 cfu/100ml for saltwater and 61cfu/100ml for freshwater), another sample must be collected immediately. Your beach will not re-open until a clean result is reported.