More than half of America’s beaches contain potentially dangerous levels of feces, according to a new report described as “worrying” by experts.
Tests conducted at more than 3,000 beaches along the country’s coastlines showed that 55 percent had potentially unsafe levels of sewage in their waters at least once in the past year.
Experts say that contaminated water makes one in 31 swimmers sick, who end up swallowing water contaminated with dangerous bacteria such as E.coli or get infected after that colonizes your skin.
One in nine, or 363, had beaches that were so dirty they posed a risk to people’s health on at least 25 percent of the days they were tested.
Southern states along the Gulf Coast, including Florida, Texas and Louisiana, were hardest hit, with 84 percent of their beaches having at least one day in 2022 when the water was contaminated with feces.
The map above shows US coastal counties by the proportion of days that were not safe for swimming due to potentially dangerous levels of bacteria in the water. It shows that Oregon had the highest proportion of areas with poor swimming conditions.
The above divides the US coastal areas into regions. It reveals that the Gulf Coast was hardest hit, with 84 percent of beaches unsafe for swimming at least once last year, followed by the West Coast and the Great Lakes region.
The feces can be washed out to sea after storms, and rainwater causes drains and sewage systems to overflow and spill their contents. It can also be transported to the sea by rivers that collect manure from factory farms.
Data on the state of US beaches was compiled by Colorado-based lobby group Environment America for its annual report. ‘Safe to swim?’ report.
It was based on figures from the National Water Quality Monitoring Council, part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which tracks water quality on US beaches.
A total of 3,192 beaches were included in the report. On average, states test their beach water for sewage contamination once a week.
The second most polluted beaches in the US were along the west coast. — in California, Oregon and Washington — where 70 percent of the beaches were polluted at least once in the past year.
Beaches surrounding the Great Lakes, such as those in Wisconsin and Illinois, were the third most polluted, with feces detected on 63 percent last year at least once.
Oregon had the most polluted beaches in the United States, with half of its counties, three out of six, having beaches that were too dirty for swimming six to twelve months of the year.
Environmental groups say agriculture in the state is to blame for the contamination. The EPA has been urging Oregon to clean up his act for years, with a report discovering last year that 95 percent of the state’s lakes are now too polluted to be used for drinking water.
At the other end of the scale were Alaska and Hawaii, where 24 percent of the beaches had dangerous levels of pollution at least once a year.
John Rumpler, the director of the clean water program who led the report, told DailyMail.com: “What we CAN say is that a number of factors mean this beach contamination is likely to continue and perhaps worsen unless steps are taken bold steps to address it. ‘
Factors he pointed to were aging sewer systems, the expanding impervious surfaces of urban areas and climate change that increases the likelihood of intense storms.
added to foxnews: “While the data doesn’t allow us to say whether beach pollution is worse now than in previous years, there are several worrying trends that increase the likelihood of beach pollution.”
In 2020, the group estimated that 53 percent of beaches had potentially unsafe levels of bacteria for at least one day’s swimming. In 2019, the figure was 56 percent.
Last year, there were an estimated 8,700 health alerts or beach closures due to the contamination of their waters. There was also an estimated 57 million cases of illnesses caused by swimming in dirty water.
People who swim in sewage-contaminated water can ingest the debris, and its dangerous bacteria, by swallowing the water or breathing in mists or aerosols on the water’s surface.
In the report, the experts have included a graph on the water quality of the beaches in each state. Above are measurements for Oregon (left) and Wisconsin (right) in 2022
The above shows the water quality last year at beaches in New York, including New York City, and Alaska last year.
The bacteria can then begin to multiply rapidly inside the person, triggering an infection and making them sick. In some cases, this is severe enough for hospitalization.
To minimize beach pollution, Environment America recommended boosting investment in systems to prevent or reduce runoff from urban areas.
This could include installing features such as pervious paving and adding more green space and even ‘green roofs’ to neighborhoods.
Sewer systems also need to be repaired and modernized, they said, to prevent them from overflowing and polluting waterways.
The experts also called for more work to protect wetlands, which can reduce pollution by absorbing floodwater and filtering pollutants.