TAMPA, Fla. (970 WFLA) – Ten percent of all water quality samples collected last year from nearly 3,500 coastal and Great Lakes beaches in the U.S. contained bacteria levels that failed to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most protective benchmark for swimmer safety, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

According to the 24th annual beach report, the findings confirm that serious water pollution persists at many U.S. seashores, with massive storm water runoff and sewage overflows historically being the largest known sources of the problem, the report states.

Researchers collected and analyzed the latest water testing results from the EPA and state beach coordinators at nearly 3,500 beach testing locations nationwide, the report said.

This year, the report found 35 popular “superstar” beaches with excellent water quality, and flagged 17 “repeat offenders” that exhibited chronic water pollution problems. It also includes an updated, mobile-friendly map of nearly 3,500 beaches nationwide that is searchable by zip code for users to check important water quality information at local beaches.

Three Florida beaches made the superstar list:

- Bowman’s Beach in Lee County

- Coquina Beach South in Manatee County

- Fort Desoto North Beach in Pinellas County

Find the full report, superstars, repeat offenders by CLICKING HERE and see the zip code-searchable map to find out how Bay area beaches did by CLICKING HERE.                                                   

Photo Credit 970 WFLA/K. Norman