Wondering how clean the water is at your favorite vacation spot? Finding an answer can be tricky. There is no national protocol for protecting the public from unsafe swimming water, so beach testing and closing/health advisory practices vary from beach to beach and state to state.
To find out if an ocean, bay or Great Lakes beach is monitored regularly for pollution, start with Testing the Waters 2012. The NRDC report will give you the details on beachwater monitoring practices and standards—and tell you how often those standards were exceeded in 2011. It also reports on whether local authorities notify the public when they discover beachwater pollution.
Click here for a list of 200 popular U.S. beaches that rates their water quality and their monitoring and notification practices.
Photo: Lisa Beebe