America’s Most Polluted Beaches – Is Yours On The List?

July 28, 2010 | By | Reply More
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Beach Closure SignToday the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) released it’s annual report of the dirtiest beaches in the United States. In the 60’s we “Loved That Dirty Water”, but today we expect to swim at safe clean waterfronts.  The NRDC keeps careful records of all water testings and beach closures throughout the United States to monitor who is complying with regulations and what progress is being made to assure the public won’t be swimming in polluted water.  Their Testing The Waters report reveals some startling beach conditions.

You may be surprised to learn that the Great Lakes have the dirtiest beach water conditions in the country.  Apparently antiquated sewage treatment systems and urban storm-drain run off pumps pollutants into the Great Lakes on a regular basis.  There have been 18,000 closing and advisory days for 5 consecutive years!  Some coastal states aren’t faring much better.  Florida, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island and South Carolina have their own major trouble spots.  While the shores of Southwestern Florida are considered the least polluted in the country.  States having the cleanest beaches include Minnesota, New Hampshire, California and Alabama.  Although Alabama has recently been affected by the Gulf oil spill which will change everything for them.

200 Most Popular Beaches in USASo how can you find the best beaches for swimming in your area?  The NRDC has published a terrific map of the 200 most popular beaches in the United States which includes there star rating for cleanliness.  The 5 star ratings are based on water quality, history of ratings, testing frequency, reporting compliance and on-site beach postings.  Beaches with a five star rating have complied with all of the regulations on a consistent basis.  Just click on an umbrella to reveal the area beach’s star ratings.  You may find beaching within the same general area may have very different test results.  If you’d like a more in-depth analysis of the beaches in your area, you can read their comprehensive reports by individual state.

Of course this year we are all concerned with the Gulf oil spill and the number of southern beaches affected by the oil washing ashore.  The NRDC has also prepared a map that charts beach closings along the gulf shoreline. As of today, Texas beaches have remarkably escaped the path of the oil.

The NRDC continues to work toward the improvement of water conditions at all our beaches.  Their goal is to reduce the amount of bacterial contaminants that enter our waterways leading to health concerns like skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis and hepatitis, as well as gastrointestinal illnesses.  Everyone is encouraged to pay close attention to warnings posted at beaches concerning water quality.  And as a general rule, they recommend avoiding swimming for at least 24 hours after a flooding rain storm.

We can all appreciate the good works done by the NRDC to make sure we all have a healthy, happy and cool summer at the beach!

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Category: Featured, Travel Health & Safety, Wellness Vacations