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Report: Florida Ranks No. 5 in Beach-Water Quality

By: NRDC Release
By: NRDC Release

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - June 27, 2012 -

A new report is ranking Florida No. 5 in the nation in the quality of its beach water.

The report released Wednesday by the National Resources Defense Council says 3 percent of the Florida beach water it sampled last year exceeded national standards for bacteria and fecal matter.

Beaches in Dixie County, along the Gulf Coast, had the state's highest rate of instances exceeding the standards. Beaches in Collier, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, St. Johns and Wakulla counties had no instances.

Florida has the most coastal swimmers in the nation with more than 1,000 miles of coastline.

The state has more than 600 public coastal beaches.

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WASHINGTON (June 27, 2012) –

America’s beaches saw the third-highest number of closing and advisory days in more than two decades last year, confirming the nation’s seashores continue to suffer from stormwater runoff and sewage pollution that can make people sick and harm coastal economies, according to the 22nd annual beachwater quality report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Our beaches are plagued by a sobering legacy of water pollution,” said NRDC senior attorney Jon Devine. “Luckily, today more than ever, we know that much of this filth is preventable and we can turn the tide against water pollution. By establishing better beachwater quality standards and putting untapped 21st century solutions in place – we can make a day at the beach as carefree as it should be, and safeguard America’s vital tourism economies.”

In its 22nd year, NRDC’s annual report – Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches – analyzes government data on beachwater testing results from 2011 at more than 3,000 beach testing locations nationwide. The report examines the pollution realities that loom at America’s beaches and calls for a timely, concerted effort to avert future beachwater pollution.

The report confirms that last year, our nation’s beachwater continued to suffer from serious contamination and pollutants by human and animal waste. As a result, America’s beaches issued the third-highest number of closings or advisories in the report’s history last year, with the second-highest number occurring just the year before.

The report provides a 5-star rating guide to 200 of the nation’s popular beaches, evaluating them for water quality and best practices for testing and public notification. This year, the report awards a dozen beaches with a 5-star rating, as well as highlights the top 15 “Repeat Offenders,” which repeatedly exhibit chronically high bacteria counts.

For the first time this year, NRDC’s report includes a zip code searchable map of more than 3,000 beaches nationwide, making it easier than ever for users to check the water quality, monitoring, closing and swimming advisory information at their local beaches. Find it here: http://www.nrdc.org/beaches.

This year, Testing the Waters identifies two critical actions that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can take to better protect people at the beach. First, EPA should reconsider its proposed recommended standards for beachwater quality, which leave beach-goers inadequately protected and unnecessarily exposed to dangerous pathogens in the water. Second, because polluted runoff is the biggest known source of pollution that causes swimming advisories or beach closings, EPA must reform and rigorously enforce the national requirements that govern sources of polluted stormwater to ensure that runoff is controlled using innovative green infrastructure solutions.


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