Dirty beaches have become nationwide scourges. From storms to sewage overflows and overall water pollution, some beaches have a hard time maintaining their cleanliness and reputation.

Americans are fortunate to have a country full of swimmable beaches. The best ones call for water sports, sun bathing, and bonding with family and friends. The last thing anyone wants to worry about is exposure to contaminated water.

ropes park texas

Avoid the trash-strewn beach at Ropes Park. (NRDC)

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) pressures the federal government to protect all U.S. waters under the Clean Water Act. The organization also fights for policies and practices that ensure a safe and sufficient water supply through efficiency, pollution controls, better management, and infrastructure improvements (NRDC).

However, safe and sufficient water is not accessible everywhere. Water pollution has become a health hazard in the U.S. and waterborne bacterial illnesses have become a constant danger.
There are many factors that contribute to water pollution. Animals, humans, illegal dumping off the coast, people leaving their garbage on the beach, and cigarettes littering the sand are just a few.

CBS News explains, “as many as 3.5 million Americans are sickened from contact with raw sewage overflows each year, according to the EPA.” That being said, the risk is higher for young children because they tend to spend more time in the ocean dunking their heads underwater.

The dirtiest beaches in the country have water samples that have exceeded the national standards. Some of them are actually repeat offenders.

No one wants to leave the beach feeling sick, so think twice before visiting these dirty beaches.

1) Avalon Beach, California

According to the Los Angeles Times, “for most of the last decade, Avalon Harbor Beach has ranked among the most polluted in the state, tainted with human sewage that puts swimmers at risk,” and “a report last month by the [NRDC] listed Avalon as one of the 10 most chronically polluted beaches in the nation for failing state health tests as much as 73% of the time.” Researchers explain the pollution is due to the city’s sewer system, which is made of metal pipes and extremely old clay.

2) North Point Marina North Beach, Illinois

Although it is said to be making improvements, North Point Marina is still the largest marina on the Great Lakes and a marina this size ultimately results in a large amount of pollution.

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3) Ropes Park, Texas

The caller Times explains, “Texas was ranked 18th in beach water quality nationally with 6 percent of its water samples exceeding state daily bacteria standards, according to a report by the [NRDC].” Ropes Park is among the six beaches in the area with the worst water quality. Others include Cole Park and Emerald Beach.

4) Malibu Pier, California

Malibu Pier is a Grade C beach in Los Angeles County. It has been reported that the beach quality has been inconsistent, the water has encountered persistent contamination problems, and pollution has become a great concern.

5) Beachwood Beach West, New Jersey

New Jersey has become a repeat offender when it comes to their water quality. In 2005 only 1 percent of their water exceeded national standards. Since then, the number has risen. Beachwood Beach West is a small beach that sits on the Jersey shore, and reports have shown it is one of the dirtiest in the country.

6) Villa Angela State Park, Ohio

Villa Angela State Park is a publicly owned, publicly accessed beach. This could be one of the major reasons why for the past six years it has been reported under advisory due to its high bacteria levels (ohio.gov). Since 2011, it has been monitored in regular intervals, 7 times per week by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

7) Ontario Beach, New York

Ontario Beach is located in Rochester, New York. According to City Newspaper, 40 percent of 248 samples from the Ontario Beach didn’t meet the federal beach water safety guidelines in 2014. Reports have said that one of the biggest contributors to water pollution have been storm water runoff.

Check out the rest of The Dirtiest Beaches in the U.S.