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Oyster Bay's Beekman Beach partially reopens

Children play at Beekman Beach in Oyster Bay

Children play at Beekman Beach in Oyster Bay on Sept. 1, 2010. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Beekman Beach in Oyster Bay is open again for sunbathing on the sand but still closed for swimming and wading.

Hal Mayer, an environmental consultant for the Town of Oyster Bay, said the beach reopened Tuesday morning after it was closed for more than a month. He made the announcement during Tuesday's town board meeting, after queries about the beach from residents.

Construction crews had used the beach area as a staging site for construction on the adjoining West Shore Road, Mayer said. But by Tuesday, their equipment had been contained to only a portion of the parking lot, leaving the rest of the lot and the sand open for beachgoers. The construction crews expect to be completely gone from the beach area by early October, Mayer said.

As sunbathers return to the sand, they will still face "No swimming" signs.

"The water is still not supposed to be used for swimming, for human activity in the water," Mayer said.

The beach has been closed for a number of years for swimming because of high contamination levels that have been measured in the water, Mayer said.

Resident O.J. Donovan, 74, of Oyster Bay, told town officials that the contamination levels are high only after rain washes pollutants into the water. He said the beach should be open for swimming on other days.

But in July, the not-for-profit Save the Sound environmental group called Beekman Beach the most contaminated beach on Long Island, giving it a score of D-plus in a survey.

Mayer said a number of organizations have performed tests on the water off Beekman Beach and said officials would examine and analyze the data to determine whether to reopen the water to bathing.

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