N.H.’s Wallis Sands Beach and Hampton Beach are among thirteen U.S. beaches with a five-star rating on the National Resources Defense Council’s 2013 list of cleanest vacation beaches.
NRDC’s beach rating system measures water quality based on bacteria levels and frequency of testing. Of over 1,000 N.H. Department of Environmental Service tests last year, only 10 exceeded normal bacterial levels. DES Beach Program Coordinator Sonia Carlson says the culprit for high bacteria levels is fecal matter.
“We are testing at the coast for one thing – the fecal bacteria. Particularly, enterococci. It alone isn’t necessarily what would make you sick, but it’s an indicator that there’s fecal matter in the water from some sort of warm blooded animal.”
Wallis Sands Beach at Wallis Road and Hampton Beach State Park received the five-star rating because of water quality and the fact that both are tested twice a week.