WASHINGTON — US beaches can be dirty places, making about 3.5 million people sick each year from sewage in the water, said an annual study Wednesday that rates American beaches by how dirty they are.
The Natural Resources Defense Council report included 3,000 beaches nationwide and listed 15 “repeat offenders” that have turned up again and again in the pollution rankings.
Those included four beaches in Louisiana, Avalon and Doheny State Beaches in southern California, and select waterfront beaches in Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin.
Overall, the total number of beach closures and water quality advisories nationwide last year was the third highest in 22 years of monitoring, said the study.
“America’s beaches are plagued by a sobering legacy of water pollution, including bacteria-laden human and animal waste,” said NRDC Water Program Director Steve Fleischli.
“So when people dive into the ocean, it can make them sick with a range of waterborne illnesses including stomach flu, skin rashes, pink eye, ear nose and throat problems, dysentery, hepatitis, respiratory ailments, neurological disorders and other serious health problems.”
Louisiana tallied the highest number of dirty samples (29 percent) that exceeded national standards for designated beach areas in 2011.
The southern state famed for its seafood and music and whose shoreline was among those sullied by the BP oil spill in 2010 ranked last out of 30 states measured for beachwater quality.
However, since the ranking was based on bacteria sampling in the waters, the problem was not solely attributable to the devastating oil spill, the NRDC said.
Instead, the main problem across most of America’s beaches is polluted storm water runoff — with more than 10 trillion gallons of untreated storm water making its way into surface waters each year, according to US Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
“The biggest known cause of beach closings and swimming advisories is polluted storm water runoff,” said Fleischli.
“When it rains, the water carries trash, chemicals, oil, animal waste — you name it — off the paved streets of our communities into sewers and ultimately to our beach.”
The environmental group appealed for tougher EPA standards on beach water quality and improved measures to halt runoff pollution and sewer overflows.
“EPA believes it is acceptable for one in 28 swimmers to become ill with gastroenteritis from swimming in water that just meets its proposed water quality criteria,” said NRDC.
“This risk is unacceptably high and is not protective of public health.”
As many as 3.5 million people get sick from coming in contact with raw sewage from sanitary sewer overflows every year, the EPA says.
The NRDC also listed the best beaches for water quality. The top beaches were in the northeastern states of Delaware (Dewey Beach) and New Hampshire (Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands Beach).
Other five-star ratings went to Newport Beach in California, Ocean City Beach 6 in Maryland, and Gulf Shores Public Beach in Alabama.
No Florida beaches made the top 12 that received the five-star rating.
[Man on the beach image via Shutterstock]
Watch Rachel Maddow broadcast ‘exclusive story’ that undermines Mike Pence’s claims
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Monday presented an "exclusive story" -- that undermines public claims by the Trump administration.
Vice President Mike Pence has been among the biggest defenders of the detention camps the administration is running near the southern border.
Pence has described the treatment of detainees as "compassionate" and "excellent."
But that was not what Maddow reported on Monday.
"You haven’t seen this anywhere else," she introduced. "This is the first time this has been broadcast."
The story was an exclusive interview NBC News correspondent Julia Ainsley conducted with a child refugee from Guatemala who was held in one of the camps for eleven days.
WATCH: 10 videos show massive flooding hitting Brooklyn and New Jersey after torrential downpour
A massive flood is once again striking parts of New York City and New Jersey Monday as the heatwave gave way to a torrential downpour.
The storm moved through after 6 p.m. EST, dropping several inches of rain in a short period and causing immense flash flooding during rush hour. Commuters reported unusually large crowds on subway platforms, water flowing down subway stairs and huge leaks in the ceilings.
Airports were also dealing with the storm blowing through with time delays at LaGuardia, JFK and the Newark Airports.
Some folks took the flood in stride, bringing out pool toys to ride the waves:
Protesters take to the streets outside judge’s home after he approves controversial jail sentence for black judge
On Monday, angry crowds of people came to the neighborhood of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker after he ordered former judge Tracie Hunter to serve a six-month prison sentence for mishandling a confidential document.
The scenes from the courtroom were dramatic, with Hunter's supporters screaming as she collapsed upon Dinkelacker upholding the sentence, and officers dragging her limp figure from the courtroom: