The 11 Most Polluted Beaches In The US

Avalon BeachAvalon Beach on Catalina Island, California is a ‘Repeat Offender’ in poor water quality

Could a swim at your favourite beach make you sick?

According to data released by the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), American beaches were closed or on advisory for over 20,000 days last year because of high levels of bacteria and pollutants in the waters.

The NRDC analysed water testing data from 3,000 beaches across the country, and identified the 11 most polluted beaches in the U.S—six of which are in the Great Lakes region.

These repeat offenders have consistently had water samples with high bacteria counts and contamination. Beachgoers who swim in these polluted waters are at risk of contracting all sorts of illnesses, from skin rashes and ear infections to stomach flus and hepatitis.

Before you head to the beach this summer, check on the water quality of the beaches in your state at the NRDC’s website.

Avalon Beach, Calif.

Location: Los Angeles County, California

The Catalina Island town 26 miles off the Southern California coast has an old sewer system on the brink of deteriorating. A $5 million project is aiming to stop waste from infiltrating the waterways. Over 50 per cent of water samples exceeded state standards for pollution.

Of five monitored sections at Avalon Beach, the area 100 feet east of the Green Pleasure Pier was only one without persistent contamination problems.

Doheny State Beach, Calif.

Location: Orange County, California

A popular surf spot, Doheny Beach is also a haven for pollution because of its inlet location, sewage runoff, and bird droppings. Over 30 per cent of water samples exceeded state standards of pollution.

The majority of the beach's sections had persistent contamination problems.

Poche County Beach, Calif.

Location: Orange County, California

Over 65 per cent of water samples exceeded state standards for pollution in Poche Beach. The beach is exposed sewage water that's often flushed out of storm drains during heavy rains, so the county has invested in a multi-million dollar storm water treatment plant to clean up the beach. Recent dry spells have temporarily masked the problem.

Last year, a falconer was hired to chase away birds leaving droppings along the shoreline.

Jeorse Park Beach, Ind.

Location: Lake County, Indiana

The beach on Lake Michigan had roughly 50 days of beach closure or advisory days last year. Over 60 per cent of water samples exceeded state standards for pollution.

Beachwood Beach, N.J.

Location: Ocean County, New Jersey

Most closures at Beachwood were a result of storm water runoffs and over 30 per cent of those were directly related to elevated bacteria levels. 35 per cent of water samples taken from Beachwood exceeded state standards for pollution.

Ontario Beach, N.Y.

Location: Monroe County, New York

The beach located on Lake Ontario is in the northern part of Rochester. Over 30 per cent of water samples exceeded state standards for pollution.

Lakeshore Park, Ohio

Location: Ashtabula County, Ohio

Lakeshore sits to the west of Cleveland on Lake Erie. The beach features one of the largest lakefront parks in Ohio. Over 40 per cent of water samples exceed state standards for pollution.

Euclid State Park, Ohio

Location: Cuyahoga County, Ohio

The area was once home to one of Ohio's most famous amusement parks. 40 per cent of water samples exceeded state standards for pollution at the Lake Erie beach.

Villa Angela State Park, Ohio

Location: Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Villa Angela State Park sits on Lake Erie and connects with Euclid beach. Over 42 per cent of water samples exceeded state standards for pollution.

Edson Creek, Ohio

Location: Eerie County, Ohio

More than a quarter of the water samples from Edson Creek exceed state standards for water pollution. The city publishes their advisories online, and high bacteria levels are a frequent reason for closures.

South Shore Beach, Wis.

Location: Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

Sitting on Lake Michigan, South Shore Beach is a frequent offender, with 43% of water samples exceeding state samples for pollution. The town takes water samples daily, but is struggling to manage their water runoff problem.

Lucky for you, not all beaches are so dirty

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