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Which Beaches are the Cleanest or Dirtiest?

Just in case you are considering going to the beach, you may want to take a look at which beaches are the cleanest, and which beaches are the dirtiest. No one wants to get sick on a vacation. After all vacations should make you come away feeling healthier and rested, not sicker.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council's annual beach quality report, some of the country's most popular beaches are contaminated by storm water runoff and sewage that could cause stomach flu, skin rashes, pink eye, ear nose and throat problems. The NRDC says that the EPA's position for acceptable contamination levels requires that fewer than one in 28 swimmers become ill with gastroenteritis from swimming in water that just meets its proposed water quality criteria. The NRDC calls that, "Unacceptably high". The EPA says that as many as 3.5 million people get sick from coming in contact with raw sewage from sanitary sewer overflows every year.

The NRDC has taken a look at 2011 data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from test results taken at more than 3,000 beaches nationwide. The look examines pollution factors, water testing practices and public notification systems.

The biggest contaminant factor apparently was sewer runoff. Americaís beaches had the third-highest number of closings or advisories in the reportís 22-year-history.

The NRDC includes a guide that ranks 200 popular vacation beaches on a scale of one to five. Those that exceed the standards get 5 stars.

The NRDC also created a list of the top 12 cleanest beaches and the top 15 repeat offenders, along with an interactive map of 3,000 other beaches in the nation, that can be searched by zip code.

The Dirtiest Beaches

Avalon Beach in Los Angeles County, Calif.

Doheny State Beach in Orange County, Calif.

Winnetka Elder Park Beach in Cook County, Ill.

North Point Marina North Beach in Lake County, Ill.

Constance Beach, Gulf Breeze, Little Florida, Long Beach, and Rutherford beaches in Cameron County, La.

Beachwood Beach West in Ocean County, N.J.

Woodlawn Beach (Woodlawn Beach State Park) in Erie County, N.Y.

Ontario Beach in Monroe County, N.Y.

Euclid State Park and Villa Angela State Park beaches in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

South Shore Beach in Milwaukee County, Wis.

The Cleanest Beaches

Newport Beach, Bolsa Chica Beach, and Huntington State Beach in Orange County, Calif.

Gulf Shores Public Beach and Gulf State Park Pavilion in Baldwin County, Ala.

Dewey Beach in Sussex County, Del.

Ocean City at Beach 6 in Worcester County, Md.

Park Point Franklin Park/ 13th Street South Beach Park and Lafayette Community Club Beach in St. Louis County, Minn.

Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands Beach in Rockingham County, N.H.

South Padre Island in Cameron County, Texas

For a big state by state ratings listing at the NRDC

Louisiana tallied the highest number of dirty samples (29 percent) that exceeded national standards for designated beach areas in 2011.

Running through the list I noticed that Alabama had a lot of of the cleanest beaches rating higher than Florida on average, but there were only a handfull listed for Alabama. No Florida beaches made the top 12 that received the five-star rating.

Posted by Tim Frady the Hip2bfit.com webmaster

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