Beaches in Nassau County reopen after needles, syringes washed ashore

EAST ATLANTIC BEACH, Long Island (WABC) -- Several beaches on the South Shore of Long Island reopened Sunday after hypodermic needles and other medical waste washed ashore.

A total of three dozen hypodermic needles have been found on the shoreline in the last two days.

The discovery began Saturday when a lifeguard found a needle in a Gatorade bottle at East Atlantic Beach and the beach was closed. More needles were found on Lido Beach.

Officials say after the closures were announced the beaches were thoroughly swept and raked, and no additional medical waste has been found since Saturday afternoon, prompting the decision to reopen.

"The health and safety of our beachgoers and staff is of paramount concern, so we want to be absolutely sure that wherever this medical waste came from, it's not still lingering to wash up again with the next tide," said Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen.

Town of Hempstead parks personnel will continue to comb the beaches throughout the day and during high tide cycles to make sure no more medical waste washes up.

"If you see something immediately notify a lifeguard or other park official and do not try touch an item yourself," said Gillen

The town is checking into the possibility that the material may have come from the Army Corps of Engineers dredging just off the shoreline.

"They'll all be evaluated, they'll all be tested and we'll continue to run down a lead. It could take weeks before we know where it's coming from," said Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

Assemblywoman Missy Miller asked the Army Corps of Engineers to stop dredging for 48 hours so they could figure out if the waste coming from there, and she posted on Facebook that they agreed.

The beaches primarily affected with waste were Lido Beach West and East Atlantic Beach.

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