Annual Beach Pollution Report by NRDC: 2013 Best and Worst Beaches
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s 23rd annual beach water quality report, most of America's popular beaches have serious water pollution issues.
The report, “Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches,” is a collection of the latest beach water quality data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from more than 3,000 testing locations nationwide.
The 23rd annual beach report reports high bacteria levels in the water caused beach closings or advisories on a cumulative 20,000-plus days in 2012.
“Sewage and contaminated runoff in the water can spoil a family vacation real fast, turning a day of lounging at the beach into a day at the doctor’s office with a sick child,” said NRDC senior attorney Jon Devine.
Exposure to bacteria, viruses and parasites in contaminated water can cause symptoms and diseases ranging from ear, nose, and eye infections, diarrhea, vomiting, hepatitis, encephalitis, skin rashes, and respiratory illnesses. Children, the elderly, pregnant women, cancer patients and those with weakened immune systems are the most likely to get sick from swimming in contaminated water.
"Swimming in contaminated water can cause a host of maladies from gastrointestinal ailments to pinkeye, though linking an illness to a day at the beach is extremely under reported," Devine said. "People don't know that water can contain viruses, bacteria and other parasites that make you sick. And when they get sick they don't associate the two."
You can reduce your risk of getting sick by following these tips:
- Pay attention to contamination and advisory warnings and stay out of polluted water
- Avoid swimming at beaches with nearby discharge pipes or at urban beaches after heavy rainfall
- Stay out of murky or foul-smelling water
- Avoid beachwater if you have an open wound or infection
- Swim without putting your head under water
NRDC awards up to five stars to 200 popular vacation beaches based on low violation rates, frequent water testing and prompt public notification when there is a problem.
The five-star Beach winners:
• Alabama: Gulf Shores Public Beach in Baldwin County
• Alabama: Gulf State Park Pavilion in Baldwin County
• California: Bolsa Chica Beach in Orange County
• California: Newport Beach in Orange County (2 of 3 monitored sections)
• California: San Clemente State Beach in Orange County
• Delaware: Dewey Beach - Dagsworthy in Sussex County
• Delaware: Rehoboth Beach in Sussex County
• Maryland: Ocean City at Beach 6 in Worcester County
• Michigan: Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County
• Minnesota: Park Point Franklin Park / 13th Street South Beach Park Point in St. Louis County
• Minnesota: Lafayette Community Club Beach in St. Louis County
• New Hampshire: Hampton Beach State Park in Rockingham County
• New Hampshire: Wallis Sands Beach in Rockingham County
The 11 repeat offenders -- beaches where water samples exceeded public health standards more than 25% of the time from 2008-2012:
· California: Avalon Beach in Los Angeles County (4 of 5 monitored sections)
· California: Doheny State Beach in Orange County (6 of 7 monitored sections)
· California: Poche County Beach in Orange County
· Indiana: Jeorse Park Beach in Lake County
· New Jersey: Beachwood Beach in Ocean County
· New York: Ontario Beach in Monroe County
· Ohio: Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula County
· Ohio: Euclid State Park in Cuyahoga County
· Ohio: Villa Angela State Park in Cuyahoga County
· Ohio: Edson Creek in Erie County
· Wisconsin: South Shore Beach in Milwaukee County
For the second year, NRDC has a searchable by zipcode map that enables vacationers to check recent water-quality information.
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