Water Pollution: Please Don’t Kill My Vibe

The Natural Resources Defense Council is out with its 23rd annual Testing the Waters beach report and the news is mixed. Across the country, they say, beaches experienced 20,120 closed or advisory days because of polluted water or threats of contamination.

Culling data from the Environmental Protection Agency and state beaches at more than 3,000 sites nationwide, they’ve identified the best and worst beaches by water quality. With that information, they created a mobile-friendly, zip-code-searchable map to make it “easier than ever for users to check important water quality, monitoring, closing and swimming advisory information at their local beaches,” NRDC explained in a press release. You can view the map here: http://www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/default.asp

Also included in the report are recommendations for the EPA, because what’s the point of talking about the bad if you have no way to make things better? NRDC asks that the EPA consider these two requests:
1) Because polluted runoff is the biggest known source of beachwater pollution, EPA should reform and rigorously enforce the national requirements that govern sources of polluted stormwater to ensure that runoff is controlled using innovative green infrastructure solutions. 
2) EPA should reconsider its new recreational beachwater quality criteria, which leave beachgoers inadequately protected and unnecessarily exposed to bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can make them sick.

To instill some local price, NRCD calls out the nation’s 13 “superstar” beaches:

  • Alabama:Gulf Shores Public Beach in Baldwin County
  • Alabama:Gulf State Park Pavilion in Baldwin County
  • California: Bolsa Chica Beach in Orange County
  • California: Newport Beach in Orange County (2 of 3 monitored sections)
    • Newport Beach – 38th Street
    • Newport Beach – 52nd/53rd Street
  • California: San Clemente State Beach in Orange County (2 of 2 monitored sections)
    • San Clemente State Beach – Avenida Calafia
    • San Clemente State Beach – Las Palmeras
  • DelawareDewey Beach – Dagsworthy in Sussex County
  • Delaware:Rehoboth Beach in Sussex County
  • Maryland: Ocean City at Beach 6 in Worcester County
  • Michigan: Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County                 
  • Minnesota: Park Point Franklin Park / 13th Street South Beach Park Point in St. Louis County
  • Minnesota: Lafayette Community Club Beach in St. Louis County
  • New Hampshire: Hampton Beach State Park in Rockingham County
  • New Hampshire: Wallis Sands Beach in Rockingham County

To publicly shame the bad seeds, NRDC also points out 11 “repeat offender” beaches:

  • California: Avalon Beach in Los Angeles County (4 of 5 monitored sections):
    • Avalon Beach 100 feet west of the Green Pleasure Pier
    • Avalon Beach 50 feet east of the Green Pleasure Pier 
    • Avalon Beach 50 feet west of the Green Pleasure Pier
    • Avalon Beach East of the Casino Arch at the steps
  • California: Doheny State Beach in Orange County (6 of 7 monitored sections):
    • Doheny State Beach, 1000′ South Outfall 
    • Doheny State Beach, 2000′ South Outfall
    • Doheny State Beach, 3000′ South Outfall
    • Doheny State Beach, North Beach
    • Doheny State Beach, North of San Juan Creek 
    • Doheny State Beach, Surfzone at Outfall
  • CaliforniaPoche County Beachin Orange County
  • Indiana: Jeorse Park Beach in Lake County (2 of 2 monitored sections):
  • New Jersey: Beachwood Beach in Ocean County
    • Lake Jeorse Park Beach I 
    • Lake Jeorse Park Beach II
  • New York: Ontario Beach in Monroe County
  • Ohio: Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula County
  • Ohio: Euclid State Park in Cuyahoga County
  • Ohio: Villa Angela State Park in Cuyahoga County
  • Ohio: Edson Creek in Erie County
  • Wisconsin: South Shore Beach in Milwaukee County

NRDC says the primary known cause of contamination is stormwater runoff and sewage. Have you ever ignored a warning or closure to surf anyway? Did you become radioactive? We’d love to hear about it. 

*Header photo is a screenshot of surfers at Doheny Beach, from this video: http://vimeo.com/samschafer/68562512.

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