Water Quality Reports for Your Favorite Beaches
In Nocturne, Opus 1: Sea Foam, an eco-activist's concern about polluted waterways leads to media discussions and political arguments about the solution to an impending crisis of epic proportions. What if the water from our rivers and streams, and our lakes and aquifers, was no longer safe to drink?
In some areas of the United States, public and private water recreation areas close their beaches after heavy rainfalls to limit our exposure to toxic runoff. State and Federal agencies monitor the bacterial counts at public beaches, issuing advisories and closing beaches when the counts exceed a healthy limit. How do we know which beaches are safe to visit? A quick check of the beach water quality reports on the internet can prevent a frustrating drive to a closed beach or warn about being careful not to swallow any water while swimming.
The Natural Resources Defense Council surveys the water quality at United States' beaches annually, producing and publishing the report Testing the Waters. Individual State Summaries of beach water quality from the report can be found at www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/titinx.asp in the second column on this NRDC webpage.
The NRDC also recognizes the Superstar Beaches that have achieved a five star rating for water quality for the previous year. The criteria for the ratings are listed below:
1. Water Quality for 2010
2. Water Quality for the Past Three Years
3. Water Quality Testing Frequency
4. Always Issues Advisories Promptly
5. Posts Closings and Advisories
The NRDC Selected the 2010 Superstar Beaches:
Delaware: Rehoboth Beach, Rehoboth Avenue Beach, Sussex County
Delaware: Dewey Beach, Sussex County
Minnesota: Park Point Lafayette Community Club Beach, St. Louis County
New Hampshire: Hampton Beach State Park, Rockingham County
Another popular list of best beaches in the United States is produced every year by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach. He selects the top beaches in the United States based upon 50 criteria which he lists on his webpage. He releases his annual report before the Memorial Day weekend. His website is www.drbeach.org/top10beaches.htm.
Dr. Beach's 2011 Top 10 Beaches:
1. Florida: Siesta Beach in Sarasota, Florida
2. California: Coronado Beach in San Diego, California
3. Hawaii: Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
4. New York: Main Beach in East Hampton, New York
5. North Carolina: Cape Hatteras in the Outer Banks of North Carolina
6. Florida: St. George Island State Park, Florida panhandle
7. South Carolina: Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina
8. Massachusetts: Coast Guard Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts
9. Hawaii: Waimanalo Bay Beach Park on Oahu, Hawaii
10. Florida: Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, Florida
Watch for this year's updates to these lists, which I will post in this blog section as soon as they are released.