A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that stormwater runoff and sewage pollution continue to spoil many of America's beaches. The NRDC's 22nd annual report, "Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches," found that U.S. beaches had "the third-highest number of closing and advisory days in more than two decades" in 2011.
According to a press release, the report examined the results of government water testing at over 3,000 beaches. The results suggest that beaches "continued to suffer from serious contamination and pollutants by human and animal waste" in 2011.
Along with the report, the NRDC has also created a searchable database of water quality tests and swimming advisories at beaches across the country and a series of videos on beach testing.
NRDC senior attorney Jon Devine said in a statement, “Our beaches are plagued by a sobering legacy of water pollution." He added, "By establishing better beachwater quality standards and putting untapped 21st century solutions in place – we can make a day at the beach as carefree as it should be, and safeguard America’s vital tourism economies.”
Click here to read a 2012 list of America's best beaches, as decided by "Dr. Beach" professor Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University.
Several beaches on both lists could see significant changes in coming decades. A report released last week by NRDC claims that the West Coast "will see an ocean several inches higher in coming decades, with most of California expected to get sea levels a half foot higher by 2030," explained the Associated Press.
Find NDRC's 15 “repeat offenders” below. Each beach had "water samples violating public health standards more than 25 percent of the time for each year from 2007 to 2011," according to the NRDC report available here. Captions courtesy of NRDC.