One out of 10 U.S. beaches tested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for bacteria and viruses failed the test.
These bacteria and viruses can cause some nasty diseases like dysentery, hepatitis, stomach flu, infections, and rashes.
The researchers who were doing the testing found that beaches near waterways that are fed by storm-water runoff from city streets also include trash, chemicals, oil – as well as animal and human waste.
Still, the agency singled out 35 popular “superstar” beaches that have excellent water quality.
Each of these met national water quality standards 98 percent of the time over the past five years. They include:
Delaware: Dewey Beach-Swedes in Sussex County
Florida: Bowman’s Beach in Lee County
Georgia: Tybee Island North in Chatham County
Massachusetts: Singing Beach in Essex County
New Jersey: Stone Harbor at 96th St. in Cape May County
The 17 “repeat offenders” that continue to have serious water pollution problems include:
California: Malibu Pier, 50 yards East of the pier, in Los Angeles County
Indiana: Jeorse Park Beach in Lake County
Massachusetts: Cockle Cove Creek in Barnstable County
Maine: Goodies Beach in Knox County
New Jersey: Beachwood Beach in Ocean County
New York: Main Street Beach in Chautauqua County
In the Great Lakes, 13 percent of samples failed to meet federal public health standards, the researchers said.
Other regions with excessively high bacteria in swimming water samples include: the Gulf Coast (12 percent), New England (11 percent), the western coast (9 percent), New York and New Jersey coasts (7 percent), and the southeast (7 percent).
States with the highest failure rates include: Ohio (35 percent), Alaska (24 percent) and Mississippi (21 percent).
For cleaner water, try the Delmarva Peninsula area on the East Coast, where 4 percent of samples failed the test.
Three states had a failure rate of just 3 percent: Delaware, New Hampshire and New Jersey, the researchers found.
As many as 3.5 million Americans are sickened from contact with raw sewage overflows each year, according to the EPA.
“The elderly and little kids are most likely to fall prey to contamination in the water because of their weaker immune systems,” Fleischli said.