Why Do Buffalo Beaches Always Close After It Rains?
If there is one thing that people in Western New York look forward to more than anything else during the summer, it has to be getting outside and heading to play on and near the water.
Having direct access to two of the Great Lakes is a tremendous asset for us in the 716 (along with the 905, 585, and 416). With Lake Erie and Lake Ontario right in our backyard, there is no shortage of fun activities to do all over the region.
Whether it's exploring the mighty Niagara Falls, going jet-boating along the Niagara River, taking a regular boat out on the lake, or just lounging at one of the many beaches in the area. Us Western New Yorkers and Southern Ontarians sure know a thing or two about having fun at the water.
However, our geographic location sometimes also means that the weather can impact how much we can get outside to the beach. It just seems that the rain not only hampers our beach days but also leaves a lasting impact even after we can see clearly because the rains have gone.
Is it just me, but does it seem like our beaches have to close just about every time after a rainfall?
Why Do Buffalo Beaches Have To Close After Rain?
According to both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the most common reason our beaches have to close after rainfall is due to an increase in bacteria and pollution that can be carried by rainwater to beaches and shores.
That happens often in Western New York due to the large amount of wastewater storm drains that are sprinkled all around the area, and often are quite close to our beaches.
This map of Western New York shows the locations of the wastewater treatment plants that exist in the area, along with all of the sewer outflows.
Under normal circumstances, our sewage is able to be treated in the treatment plants without much issue, but when it rains, those same plants become overwhelmed with water and can't keep up. Once that happens, the sewers overflow, and guess where that sewer water ends up?
Right in Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River; and extremely close to all of our beaches.
So the next time we get some rain, maybe it's best to skip the beach for a few days.