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More Than Half of America's Beaches Are Covered in Feces

According to the Environment America Research and Policy Center, sewage traces and fecal pollution made up 55% of the more than 3,100 beaches examined in the United States.

Due to high levels of fecal pollution, thousands of beaches across the United States present safety issues. The majority of the nation's beaches, according to the latest report, include residues of sewage and excrement.

Researchers discovered that in 2022, fecal pollution levels on 1,761 out of 3,192 sampled beaches worldwide surpassed the EPA's Beach Action Value, which the agency describes as a preventative tool states may use to decide whether to notify the public about specific beaches.

In 2021, Congress approved $11.7 billion for sewage system repairs and new stormwater drainage systems, although this has yet to make a significant dent in water pollution. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), $271 billion will be required.

Unfortunately, sewage infrastructure around the country is inadequate or in poor repair, enabling raw sewage to find its way into our waterways.

- Environment America Research and Policy Center

In America, about half of the sources of tap water are tainted. Researchers raised the alarm, calling the findings "frightening" in light of the problem's scope and the connection between toxins and severe medical disorders, including cancer and infertility.

Clean water program director at Environment America, John Rumpler, who led the report, says that unless drastic measures are taken to solve the issue, the beach contamination will likely persist and possibly worsen.

He said various alarming tendencies raise the possibility of beach contamination, even though the data do not enable us to tell whether it is worse currently than in some previous years.

Additionally, on 25% of the days that the beaches were tested, 363 beaches, or about one out of every nine that Environment America monitored in 2022, had hazardous levels of fecal pollution.

According to the EPA, the West Coast and Great Lakes are the country's second and third most polluted water bodies, and the South and Gulf Coasts are home to the nation's most polluted beaches. The state with the worst beach conditions is Oregon, where the EPA found hazardous pollution levels in six areas 75% of the time the tests were conducted.

The report by Environment America concludes that animal waste from beaches near industrial farms, sewage from sewers, and private septic tanks account for most contamination.

In addition to safeguarding wetlands and increasing beach testing, the agency advises against runoff, sewage, and manure contamination in order to prevent beach pollution.

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