Beach Warnings On The Rise

Woman sunbathing on beach
A new report says there was a record number of closings and health advisory days at American beaches last year because the water wasn't safe for swimming.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, there were some 25,000 closings and advisories at numerous bay areas, beaches on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and at spots along the Great Lakes in 2006. The number is more than ever recorded in the survey's 17-year history.

Full Report: Testing The Waters
The main causes were storm runoff and sewage spills.

The report, which consists of data complied from 3,500 beaches, singles out six beaches as "beach bums" for violating public health standards standards 51 percent or more of the time samples were taken:

  • California: Avalon Beach (north of Green Pleasure Pier) (53%) and Venice State Beach (57%)
  • Maryland: Hacks Point (60%) and Bay Country Campground and Beach (56%)
  • New Jersey: Beachwood Beach West (60%)
  • Illinois: Jackson Park Beach (54%)
The report also says the number of no-swim days caused by stormwater more than doubled from the year before. Nancy Stoner, the director of the council's water program, says the most common ailment is an upset stomach caused by human and animal waste in the water. But she says pinkeye and rashes are also possible.

America's Cleanest Beaches: The Clean Beaches Council's Blue Wave Campaign
The news is not all bad. The following were named "beach buddies" for monitoring beach water quality regularly, violating public health standards less than 10 percent of the time, and for taking significant steps to reduce pollution:
  • North Carolina: Kure Beach and Kill Devil Hills Beach
  • Wisconsin: Sister Bay Beach and North Beach
  • California: Laguna Beach
  • Michigan: Grand Haven City Beach and Grand Haven State Park beaches
  • Maine: Libby Cove, Mother's, Middle, Cape Neddick, Short Sands and York Harbor