Rehoboth/Dewey Beaches receive NRDC star ratings UPDATED July 3

Rehoboth still a five-star beach

Cape Region shore among most pristine in nation

By Ryan Mavity | Jul 03, 2012
Cape Gazette
Source: File Rehoboth Beach was upgraded to five-star beach status by the Natural Resources Defense Council, after initially being given four stars. This marks the second year in a row Rehoboth was given a five-star designation.

Rehoboth Beach — Better late than never.

Rehoboth Beach has belatedly been upgraded to a five-star beach rating by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The upgrade makes Rehoboth the 13th superstar beach in the United States. Rehoboth and neighboring Dewey Beach have won five-star ratings for the past two years.

Rehoboth was originally downgraded to four-star status based on the frequency of water testing in the council’s report, released June 27. However, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control contacted the council with information showing all of Delaware’s oceans were monitored twice weekly.

DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara said, “With Delaware receiving top honors nationally and both Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach being recognized again by NRDC, Delaware is emerging as the most pristine beach destination in the nation. By serving as stewards of our treasured natural resources, we can maintain this advantage for years to come.”

Rehoboth Mayor Sam Cooper said, “Obviously, its great news. Kudos go to the state for the efforts they put in to operating a program to the testing.”

Ratings of Popular Beaches

NRDC issued star ratings to 200 popular beaches around the country. The star system awards up to five stars to each popular beach for exceptionally low violation rates and strong testing and safety practices. Criteria include testing more than once a week, notifying the public promptly when tests reveal bacteria levels violating health standards, and posting closings and advisories both online and at the beach. Last year, twelve beaches last received a 5-star rating.

For 2012, three Delmarva beaches received the top ratings:

Rehoboth Beach, DE

Dewey Beach, DE

Ocean City, MD

For more information please visit:

Earlier article:

Dewey Beach named five-star beach

Rehoboth falls to four stars

Photo by: Ryan Mavity For the second year in a row, Dewey Beach was named a five-star beach by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national organization that monitors water quality throughout the country.

Beach superstar, that is what you are Dewey Beach.

For the second year in a row, Dewey Beach received a five-star beach rating from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Rehoboth Beach received a five-star rating last year but fell to four stars this year because water quality was not monitored more than once a week.

Mayor Diane Hanson said, “We are delighted to have been recognized in the top tier again. When enjoying our ocean beaches, Dewey's residents and visitors can be assured that they are swimming in America's cleanest ocean waters."

The council annually issues a report on the ocean water quality and public notification systems of the nation’s beaches.

Dewey was one of 12 beaches in the country to be given a five-star rating, and the only one in Delaware. Ocean City, Md., also received a five-star rating.

Hanson said the most important thing Dewey does to achieve the rating is to clean the beaches regularly to prevent debris and trash from washing into the water.

Rehoboth Mayor Sam Cooper was puzzled by the change in the city's rating; he said the state tests Rehoboth at the same time they test Dewey.

"The water's no different this year than it was last year," Cooper said. "We'll live with it."

The national standard as determined by the BEACH Act, which the Environmental Protection Agency uses to monitor pollution in coastal waters, is 104 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters of water.

Jon Devine, senior attorney with the council’s water program, said only 4 percent of samples in the Delmarva region exceeded the standard, the lowest rate of violation nationwide. Delaware was tied with New Hampshire for the lowest percentage – 1 percent – of samples exceeding the national recommended standard.

Devine said the primary sources of pollution were stormwater runoff and sewage overflow.

Other five-star beaches included two each in Alabama, Minnesota and New Hampshire, along with one in Texas. California had the most five-star beaches with three.

Besides the five-star beaches, the report also lists 15 repeat offenders, whose water exceeded EPA bacteria testing standards more than 25 percent of the time, every year from 2007-11. Of these beaches, six are in California, five in Louisiana, two each in New York, Illinois and Ohio and one each in New Jersey and Wisconsin.

Hanson said, “Having clean and safe beaches is a major consideration of families when they choose a vacation spot and we hope they will continue to choose Dewey's superstar clean beach.”

To view the report, go to

The five-star rating system awards stars in the following categories:

• Less than 5 percent of water samples exceeded national standards from 2009-11

• Less than 5 percent of water samples exceeded national standards in 2011

• Local officials post advisories without resampling

• Closings and advisories are posted online and at the beach

• Water quality is measured once a week.