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Going to the Beach could Mean Swimming in a Germ Pool: America’s Cleanest and Dirtiest Beaches

Update Date: Jun 28, 2013 04:44 PM EDT

Going to the beach to hang out with friends while getting a nice tan sounds like the perfect day or weekend event. Despite the joys of running around in the cool water, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reminds us all of the germs lurking in beaches from one coast to the other. The council has released its yearly report card, ranking the best and the worst beaches of America.

The NRDC based its findings on the levels of bacteria present at these locations. The agency also looked at overall pollution levels in each state that could be affected by how rain and sewage water are dealt with. This year, the East Coast has something to praise about. According to the report, the beaches along Delaware, New Hampshire and North Carolina tested the lowest for bacteria.

Here are some of the beaches that made it on the top end of the list but are not in any order:

Gulf Shores Public Beach in Alabama

Ocean City in Maryland

Other beaches that receive accolades for having very low bacteria levels include the Hampton Beach State Park in New Hampshiree, Bay City State Recreation Area in Michigan and 13th Street South Beach in Minnesota.

The beaches that had high levels of bacteria that the NRDC considers unsuitable for swimming include repeat offender, Avalon Beach in California, Milwaukee South Shore Beach in Wisconsin, Monroe Ontario Beach in New York, and Ocean Beachwood Beach in New Jersey. For more information regarding the cleanliness of beaches within your area, visit the NRDC website.

Aside from warning people about the bacteria content in beaches throughout the nation, the NRDC report card also revealed which states had poor overall pollution levels. Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota were all considered poor performers in terms of national health standards.

"It's urban slobber flowing untreated into our waterways," Steve Fleischli, the NRDC's water program director, explained in terms of why certain states ranked lower than others. "There's no ominous theme song to warn beach goers."

"The [Environmental Protection Agency] should reform national requirements," commented Jon Devine, the NRDC's senior water attorney. "The agency has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to propose a strong stormwater rule, and must do so promptly."

So far, since there are no standards, the beaches that rank lowest could remain there for years to come. 

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