South Boston beaches top region’s water quality report card
Four of the five safest beaches in the metropolitan region, in terms of water quality, are nestled near the Harbor in South Boston, according to a Beach Water Quality Report Card released on Saturday.
Compiled by Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, the annual Metropolitan Beaches Water Quality Report Card grades the safety of public beaches in Dorchester, East Boston, South Boston, Hull, Lynn, Nahant, Quincy, Revere and Winthrop.
Topping the list, with a 100% six-year average safety rating from 2016-21, is Pleasure Bay, followed by nearby City Point, which has a 99% average safety rating.
“The water is great for the dogs to jump in,” said Brian Johnson, who was taking advantage of the empty sandy beach at Pleasure Bay with his four-month-old golden retriever, Toby, on Saturday afternoon.
Johnson, 31, said he does not visit Pleasure Bay much anymore, but went often when he was growing up on the South Shore. He lives in Hingham now, and made the trip Saturday to walk the two-mile loop with his puppy.
“(The water) does look much cleaner than it was in the past,” he said. “I used to come here as a kid and do the loop.”
Two other beaches in the area, M Street Beach and Carson Beach, are fourth and fifth with the same six-year average rating of 98%. M Street held a slight edge in 2021, with a 94% rating to Carson’s 92%. In third place in this year’s report card was Hull’s Nantasket Beach, with a 99% six-year average safety rating.
While Southie beaches scored high, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay said that in 2021, the overall water quality safety rating for the Boston Harbor region’s beaches, managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, was down 7% from 2020 — 86% to the previous year’s 93%.
The organization said rainfall had a significant impact on the water quality of the region’s beaches in 2021, a year that saw much more rain than 2020. For example, 19 storms last year exceeded a half-inch of rain, and 12 storms resulted in more than an inch of rain.
Despite the rain, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay said five beaches — Pleasure Bay and City Point in South Boston, Nantasket in Hull and Winthrop Beach — had perfect water quality scores last year, according to the report card.
“Considering the wet weather, most of the region’s beaches scored quite well, earning A’s and B’s,” said Save the Harbor/Save the Bay Executive Director Chris Mancini.
While the beach area itself may have been nearly empty on Saturday afternoon, plenty of people were taking advantage of the Pleasure Bay loop. Walkers, runners and even a couple of rollerbladers could be seen taking advantage of the scenic stroll.
“It’s a nice place to go for a run,” said Brendan Taranowski, 24, a Boston resident who was out for a walk with his girlfriend, Jess Boyajian.
“We try to (come) at least a few times a week,” added Boyajian, 19, who said the Castle Island area is “super convenient” for them because it’s well-maintained.