Planning a seaside getaway this weekend? Read this first. According to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, 10 percent of U.S. coastal and lake beaches fail to meet safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. What that means: The water at your local beach could be contaminated with human or animal waste, which contains bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens that put your health at serious risk.
The report says that the largest contributor to this contamination has historically been stormwater pollution, but untreated sewage spills and overflows may also be to blame. Of the nearly 3,500 samples taken, these are the “dirtiest” beaches in the country, which have been “repeat offenders” with serious water pollution problems:
• California: Malibu Pier (50 yards east of the pier) in Los Angeles County
• Indiana: Jeorse Park Beach in Lake County
• Massachusetts: Cockle Cove Creek in Barnstable County
• Maine: Goodies Beach in Knox County
• New Jersey: Beachwood Beach in Ocean County
• New York: Main Street Beach in Chautauqua County
In addition, the beaches of the Great Lakes have the highest failure rate, with 13 percent of samples failing to meet federal public health standards.
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The good news? Fortunately, the report also highlighted the 35 cleanest, “superstar” beaches in the country, including:
• Delaware: Dewey Beach-Swedes in Sussex County
• Florida: Bowman's Beach in Lee County
• Georgia: Tybee Island North in Chatham County
• Massachusetts: Singing Beach in Essex County
• New Jersey: Stone Harbor at 96th St. in Cape May County
If you’re worried about your local beach, keep in mind that states must test waters for bacteria levels. If levels are too high, the beach may be closed or people may be advised not to swim. Find the full report and more information on how environmental agencies preventing further pollution here.
Is your go-to beach on the clean or dirty list? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine.