Information for Beach Managers

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.

What you should do

Get Licensed

If you promote swimming at your property then you must be get a license.
Non-Profit /Governmental For Profit

Perform Monitoring

When to collect samples

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.

How to collect samples

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.

  • Samples must be transported in an iced cooler and delivered within 6 hours to the laboratory.
  • Coolers carrying samples must be disinfected using alcohol wipes, or similar, prior to each use.
  • Sample collectors should use extreme caution not to contaminate sample containers by touching the inside of the cap or bottle.
  • Samplers should also take caution not to disturb the bottom sediment while entering the water. Excessive amounts of sediment and benthic material may negatively affect the sample results; often returning inflated bacteriological results.

Where to send samples

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.

Close Beaches if Instructed

At any time, if a sample exceeds the single sample standard (60 colony forming units (cfu) Enterococci per 100 milliliters (mL) of water for saltwater and freshwater), another sample must be collected immediately. Your beach will not re-open until a clean result is reported.