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New London County’s 12 public shoreline beaches had the best water quality statewide in 2012, the Natural Resources Defense Council said Thursday in its annual report on beach water quality.
Samples collected from town and state beaches from Old Lyme to Stonington contained bacteria levels that exceeded water quality standards 4 percent of the time last year, compared to 9 percent for Middlesex and Fairfield county beaches, and 7 percent for New Haven County.
The council analyzed beach sampling results for 73 public beaches on the state’s coastline.
Statewide, beaches were closed due to poor water quality for 298 days in 2012, compared to 538 days in 2011, a 45 percent decrease, the report said.
From 2010 to 2008, there were 143 to 108 closure days.
Contamination from wildlife was the most frequent reason for the closures in 2012, followed by stormwater runoff and sewage overflows.
Of local beaches, Eastern Point Beach in Groton had the highest percent of samples exceeding state standards, 13 percent.
Next was Greens Harbor Beach in New London, at 12 percent, Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme, at 9 percent, and Esker Point Beach in Groton, at 6 percent.
The majority of the rest of New London County shoreline beaches had no samples exceeding state standards in 2012, the report said.
— Judy Benson