We must work to make Woodlawn Beach safe

With summer quickly approaching, I cannot help but start thinking about summertime fun and, in particular, our local beaches. I’m a Hamburg resident and have always enjoyed the beauty and expansiveness of Woodlawn Beach. Recently, however, I have become more aware of the potential danger that exists in both the water and sands of Woodlawn. E. coli is an ever-present harm. It can make people sick and is especially dangerous to the young or anyone with a weakened immune system. It’s in the water when we swim and saturates the sand in which our children play. Numerous times in the past years, swimming was prohibited due to excessive amounts of E. coli.

I recently watched a presentation by students from the University at Buffalo working together with Assemblyman Sean Ryan. This presentation showed how large a problem the contamination is and suggested some innovative methods that can be used to combat the problem. The most eye-opening information is the sheer quantity of E. coli at Woodlawn Beach. Even when the beach is not closed, E. coli levels are high enough for people to become sick. Further, the presentation outlined the multitude of sources that contribute to the contamination. Although much of the blame for the contamination is routinely directed at the Sewer Authority, it is far from the sole contributor.

I think these students have provided a great opportunity to continue the conversation about how to protect the health of our citizens at Woodlawn Beach. No single solution or individual governmental group is going to solve this problem. We must work together so that Woodlawn Beach is as safe as it is beautiful.

Roseann M. Fiut