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1 In 10 U.S. Beaches Rated Unsafe For Swimming

The National Resources Defense Council found 10 percent of U.S. beaches aren’t fit for swimmers due to contamination.
Posted at 8:10 PM, Jun 25, 2014

Before you plan a beach day, you might want to see this list.

The Natural Resources Defense Council released its 24th annual beach report, and it’s not great.

According to the ​NRDC, 1 in 10 beaches in the U.S. aren’t fit for swimmers. This number comes after the council collected about 3,500 water samples from the East and West coasts, the South and the Great Lakes region. (Via YouTube / Pure Michigan) ​

The NRDC tested the water a little differently this year. It used the Environmental Protection Agency’s new “Beach Action Value,” or BAV, to determine if the water was OK. (Via YouTube / 8K Next)​

Mashable reports, “BAV has a lower threshold for contamination than guidelines used in past years.”  

Salon says about 7 percent of beaches were considered polluted in 2012.  And using the old method, that number would’ve stayed the same in 2013.

Which has NRDC senior attorney Jon Devine telling USA Today, "We're stagnating in terms of progress of water protection."

But it’s not just about protecting the water. The NRDC’s report says, “The EPA estimates that up to 3.5 million people become ill from contact with raw sewage from sanitary overflows each year.” Beach water can cause illnesses like stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye and more.

So how can you avoid a bacteria-filled beach day? Do your research.

The Great Lakes region was the worst offender this year, with 13 percent of beach failing the test. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says, “Great Lakes beaches tend to have problems with water quality in part because they are a more isolated system without the water circulation.”

But that doesn’t mean ocean beaches are fine. Popular ocean spots, including the beach at Malibu Pier in California, showed up on the NRDC’s list of 17 repeat offenders. (Via Flickr / SaMoBiker)

That said, just down the coast in Orange County, Newport Beach made the NRDC’s list of 35 superstar beaches. (Via Flickr / Venessa Vancour)

Devine said the differences come down to the communities and beach managers and whether or not they’ve reduced polluted runoff.

Fast Company reports, “This year, NRDC is also pushing for another solution: Cleaning up the streams and wetlands that link up with beaches.”

But until you see a change, we’d suggest consulting the list at NRDC.org.