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Surfrider Foundation finds ‘consistently high’ bacteria levels in certain Puerto Rico beaches

Crashboat Beach in Aguadilla has a 26% high bacteria rate, the nonprofit stated.

The Surfrider Foundation recently released its 2023 Clean Water Report, which included tests for bacteria in Crashboat Beach in Aguadilla and Lala Beach in Rincón.

In 2023, 57 labs processed 9,538 water samples collected from 567 distinct sampling sites, including beaches in Puerto Rico, “where Surfrider chapters are consistently measuring high bacteria levels.”

Crashboat had a 26% high bacteria rate, the study found.

“For example, Park View Kayak Launch in Miami, Florida; Ballard Park in Melbourne, Florida; and Playa Crashboat in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, are all popular spots for families to enjoy a fun day at the beach or in the water, but they are also all affected by old, failing sewage infrastructure.”

On the positive side, Lala Beach did not make the top list of polluted beaches this year as its high bacteria rate dropped from 24% in 2022 to 16% in 2023, the report adds.

“The chapter has developed a team of community volunteers who are actively ‘watchdogging’ sewer failures in this watershed and report problems promptly to the local sewer authority. This community vigilance has prompted the authority to ensure adequate backup pumps and emergency generators in their sewage systems in Rincón and Aguada, whereas avoidable interruptions in service still happen far too often elsewhere in Puerto Rico,” according to the report.

The Puerto Rico chapter hopes to see water quality trends improve as it continues to monitor this beach but fears “explosive and unregulated growth” along the coastline will continue to “overburden wastewater infrastructure,” the nonprofit added.

The foundation also performed 260 water tests in beaches in Carolina, Puerto Rico’s Isla Verde area but did not reveal the bacteria levels found.

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