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Question of the Week: How was the water quality on your last beach trip?

2009 August 17

Americans make an estimated 900 million trips to coastal areas each year. “The beach” is a classic vacation or day trip – but before you go, check your beach water quality.

How was the water quality on your last beach trip?

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27 Responses leave one →
  1. Beth Gucciardi permalink
    August 17, 2009

    The tap water in both Avalon and Ocean City NJ rental homes we stayed in recently was absolutely undrinkable, due both to hardness and taste. We have become so use to the effects of salt-water intrusion into the groundwater supply when taking beach trips that we have gotten smart and now stock up on bottled water before leaving home. Prices of spring water at the beach are very inflated – they know you have no choice.

  2. Sue Lannin permalink
    August 17, 2009

    I walked to Leone Beach and along the lakefront down to Farwell, but did not go into the water. Last night there was a heavy rain, so I am worried that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District might have opened the Wilmette locks to discharge stormwater and wastewater treatment effluent that they do not disinfect into Lake Michigan. Illinois ranks number one in beach closings nationwide, due to high levels of pollution. There is a danger of contacting respiratory illness after swimming in water that has high levels of E.coli. The failure of MWRD to disinfect its wastewater treatment effluent is very discouraging to those of us who like to canoe and kayak on the Chicago River because it is hard to avoid contact with river water as water taxis and other boat traffic create wakes that splash up against smaller craft.

  3. Tree Huggr Grrl permalink
    August 17, 2009

    Weekend before last I visited Long Beach and Ilwaco, Washingtion, and found the water quality fine. I drank the tap water and it tasted okay. I’m pretty sure that the water quality down there was good, although I didn’t check to see if there were any water quality reports available. The ocean seemed clean but was pretty cold. I didn’t see any trash, dead critters, oily sheens, or signs of pollution along the water. The weather was chilly and the sky was overcast–par for the course in Washington. At least it didn’t rain. All in all, an enjoyable experience.

  4. Sebastian Eilert permalink
    August 17, 2009

    Water use and quality are truly a great concern. Living in a beach vacation destination, it is noticeable that the water is not the same as when I first moved here in 1996. Odors have increased and pollution has gotten much worse. The Miami Dade County Department of Environmental Management (DERM) is organizing a yearly Baynanza, cleanup of the bay. This year my wife and I filled over 15 bags within less than 3 hours. Mostly with Styrofoam cups and chip bags… this pollution does not just come from water users, but also from debris littered on land that is swept in the water.
    With the current trend, the appeal to be at the beach and actually go into the water is strongly diminished here in Miami. The last beach traveled to was Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The first signs noted above were certainly visible, but the water was softer and cleaner. This maybe partly due to the location of the club we stayed at and a very strong current at its beach.

    Interesting to note the initial reactions about tab drinking water. Being German and still going back frequently, drinking, and cooking with, tap water is quite normal and good. I would not consider it here or at any of the recent vacation spots. Besides questions about contamination, the scent and taste is quite bad…it still transpires in ice cubes used.
    We need to pay attention to this source of water, as using plastic bottles is not sustainable, in any sense of the word. The bottles itself cause a huge problem, so does the water that has been sitting in them through varying levels of heat and thus absorbing chemicals that we than intake with our “clean” water…

    Good filters are a good start and maybe the vacation industry will lead the way here . Once we tate nice clean and fresh tap water on the road, we want to have the same in our house and bring it home.

    Village Green Man

  5. Johnny R. permalink
    August 17, 2009

    For the reasons stated in the previous comments, I stay away from beaches.

  6. Sara Frazier permalink
    August 17, 2009

    My husband and I are disgusted how our human family treat the various ecosystems of the world. Most see them as nothing more than playgrounds to be enjoyed with little to no concern to the adverse impact their actions have on the life of our planet. We live inland and try to live our lives in our region with respect of the natural world which supports us. However, my medical doctor brother-in-law and his wife see the world as most and traveled to “the beach” for one of their annual vacation rites this summer. His wife contracted a bacterial skin infection which was brought under control only after her third round of antibiotic treatments.

  7. Marty permalink
    August 17, 2009

    Was in Canada this month and was so disappointed at the number of beach closings, water warnings, high coliforms, etc. I was raised in this area and it is extremely sad to see (and smell!) the state of these beaches. I have been told that the lakes are getting cleaner, but I sure didn’t observe this. :(

  8. Marty permalink
    August 17, 2009

    Oh. I forgot to say the area! It was Lake Erie.

  9. Jackenson Durand permalink
    August 17, 2009

    My last real beach trip back to 6 years ago was successful, in one of the Caribbean island; the water quality was favorable and blue. For those years pass, I do not know if this water quality would be the same. When I know, how Fox there are charging Ocean with waste.
    Indeed, I always trip by beach broad in my area in other that I connect myself with nature.

  10. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    August 17, 2009

    Two places we go to about once a year are the beach at Laguna Beach and to Dana Point Harbor. The water at Laguna Beach seems to be good. There is a tide pools park there and the marine life seems to be doing well as are the pelicans, sea guls, and crows. Dana Point has a beach called Baby Beach that does seem to have some problems. Dana Point comes under the jurisdiction of the San Diego Regional Water Qualihty Control Board. And the Board is about to implement major new storm runoff requirements as well as make illegal most dry weather runoffs into the storm drain system and this should help a great deal to improve water quality at Dana Point Harbor and Baby Beach. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  11. Don permalink
    August 18, 2009

    My beach is in Northern Minnesota. The water was clear to about 5 feet. No weeds but some wild rice. Great water temperature. Lots of minnows to play with.

  12. naem permalink
    August 18, 2009

    it was very bad and ithing for two thing no thered for…one business man who build hotels next beach…two pepole who dont care where throw thier trach

  13. Atlantajan permalink
    August 18, 2009

    Just got back from Grayton Beach. Seaweedy at times, but mostly glorious — clear and blue-green. Tap water was great, as well.

    Sadly, lots of plastic crap lying on the beach. I always take a bag during my morning walks and never failed to fill it up. Those plastic covers for the straws in Capri drinks were EVERYWHERE!

  14. Druz permalink
    August 18, 2009

    I remember coastal waters in the sixties and seventies, when you could walk across Escambia Bay on dead fish, and sludge worms oozed through your toes when you waded. So everything I say is relative to that.

    First thing; thank God for the Clean Water Act. With your efforts at EPA (and FDEP), we are unbelivably much better off in 2009.

    I wade the flats in Tampa Bay frequently; seagrass beds have dramatically improved and so have the fish. The water clarity was down a bit last weekend but it had been raining quite a bit. There’s an algae bloom in Upper Tampa Bay; “reds” I think. Been around all summer, but that portion of the bay is poorly flushed.

    I was diving in the Florida Keys two weeks ago. Water clarity was good; hadn’t changed in a decade. But we need to get the humans a little smarter. Three died on the weekend I was there, all due to lack of training.

  15. Johnny R. permalink
    August 18, 2009

    The gap between federal dreamscape and physical reality grows wider every day. The human race is too much of a good thing turning bad.

  16. David permalink
    August 20, 2009

    Gulf Shores Alabama 8/8/9: Perfect beach weather: Hot sun, cool breeze, white sand and fairly clear water. There were some clear jellyfish that made enjoying the waves a challenge but overall the water was fairly good. The longshore currents were going east to west so that Mobile bay (and the nutrient load it was dropping) was drifting away from Gulf Shores. Whoever named it the “mouth” of the river doesn’t know anatomy.

  17. Joann permalink
    August 20, 2009

    I just returned from Wildwood Crest, NJ and was happy to see the much improved water quality at the beach. Unlike several years ago, I was able to see my feet while in 4 feet of water. Instead of the brownish water I recall from years ago, the water had a green seawater tint. The tap water has also improved. I can’t wait to return next week.

  18. Nancy permalink
    August 21, 2009

    Glad to see that EPA is encouraging people to write in about beachwater quality. As some of you may know, NRDC publishes a report every summer on water quality at coastal beaches called Testing the Waters. It analyzes data from beachwater samples taken by state and local officials and reported to US EPA. You might want to take a look at it if you haven’t done so already. You can find it at Also, the Senate has a number of bills pending that would improve beachwater quality, including the Clean Coastal Environment and Public Health Act. Please encourage your Senators to move that legislation. Thanks very much for your help.

    Nancy Stoner, NRDC

  19. Johnny R. permalink
    August 21, 2009

    How can you keep the beaches clean when garbage is being dumped in the ocean every day? We need an international agreement to safely recycle 100% of all waste and trash. Meanwhile, swimming at the beach is becoming decidedly UNrecreational!

  20. Jeff T permalink
    August 22, 2009

    Family trip for a week in Corolla, NC the from July 30 to August 9. WQ was good..not major floatables, bags, etc. Invaded by salps one day. Water temps were in low to mid 60s F. Nearshore currents driving sediment etc from south to north.

  21. usofa permalink
    August 22, 2009

    fat americans come to the country i live in (costa rica) and throw all their trash on the beaches…it is all your fault that our beaches look like poop now

  22. Acai permalink
    August 25, 2009

    I was raised in this area and it is extremely sad to see (and smell!) the state of these beaches. I have been told that the lakes are getting cleaner, but I sure didn’t observe this. :(

  23. Gringo permalink
    October 29, 2009

    Thank you for your thought. While I know Americans are not always pillars of resposibility it is disheartening to sample the closed-mindedness you have allowed to swell inside of you. I have met many Ticos and I know your negative attitude is not a representation of the whole. Rather than write harsh and nasty posts I invite you to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Be proactive and productive my friend. That will help more than anything!

  24. Dashiki permalink
    February 18, 2010

    It has become a moot point. I summer, we never even bother entering the ocean, we just assume it is unswimmable. Which is actually kind of sad.

  25. lose weight systems permalink
    February 5, 2011

    It’s truely shocking the state of most beaches these days with all the effluent they dump just offshore.

  26. Amer permalink
    March 30, 2011

    I had the best water experience ever in Orlando you should visit it guys. you will never regret it

  27. Kimble permalink
    September 18, 2012

    Doheny not so good, but Salt Creek is much better.

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