The Cleanest, Dirtiest Beaches in America Revealed
Where are the cleanest beaches in America? What about the dirtiest?
Just in time for summer beach season, the verdict is in when it comes to beach cleanliness. The National Resources Defense Council has rated 200 popular beaches from coast to coast. Among the NRDC's ratings criteria: how frequently a beach is tested for contaminants, and how a beach handles unsafe bacterial levels, such as by notifying the public.
In 2012, only 13 beaches received a full 5-star rating from the NRDC. The cleanest beaches in America are:
- Gulf Shores Public Beach, Alabama
- Gulf State Park Pavilion, Alabama
- Bolsa Chica Beach, California
- Newport Beach, California
- San Clemente State Beach, California
- Dewey Beach, Delaware
- Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
- Ocean City at Beach 6, Maryland
- Bay City State Recreation Area, Michigan
- Park Point Franklin Park: 13th Street South Beach, Minnesota
- Lafayette Community Club Beach, Minnesota
- Hampton Beach State Park, New Hampshire
- Wallis Sands Beach at Wallis Road, New Hampshire
If you're not lucky enough to live near one of these pristine beaches, how can you find the cleanest (and dirtiest) beaches in your area? The NRDC has a number of useful tips, such as going online to check test reports and results. The group's website also links you to detailed ratings for the 200 beaches included in its report.
But if you still aren't sure of whether or not your beach is clean or dirty enough, you can also abide by these certain rules:
- Choose beaches that are away from urban areas and next to open water.
- Don't swim near the pipes along the beach. Those pipes drain water from the streets (from rain and storms) and are likely to be far more dirty than ocean water.
- Keep your head above the water, and don't stay in it for too long.
- Avoiding swimming too soon after it rains.
If you do happen to get injured or sickened by conditions at a dirty beach, you can potentially take legal action. For example, premises liability generally holds property owners responsible if you were harmed or became ill from a condition on their property. If the property owner is the government, however, there are extra steps you'll have to take before you can sue. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help guide you through the process.
If you're lucky enough to live near one of the Top 13 cleanest beaches in America, however, what are you waiting for? Lather on some SPF, and hit the shores! Have a safe and happy summer!
- Sources of Beachwater Pollution (National Resources Defense Council)
- Top 10 Legal (and Non Legal) Summer Beach Reads (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Newborn Left on Beach Despite Safe Haven Law (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Day at the Beach? Don't Get Arrested (FindLaw's Blotter)
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