We’re not in Texas anymore.
Just after releasing an article about how 90% of Texan beaches are contaminated with poop, we have to release a new piece to broaden the story. Not amend. Not retract. But broaden.
Because just yesterday, it came out that over half of America’s beaches are contaminated with poop and unsafe to swim in.
That’s right. Forget Texas. Forget even the Gulf Coast. We’re now talking about the entire country.
The Poop Thickens
According to a report by Environment America, which tested over 3,100 beaches in the US, 55% of them had unsafe levels of fecal matter swirling around in their water. The report goes on to break down just how bad it is by area.
Now, as a region, Texas and the Gulf Coast tested the worst. But they were not alone.
Louisiana and Pennsylvania, with its Lake Erie beaches, were the top state offenders with total, complete 100% unswimmable water.
But the West Coast also fared badly. Oregon carries the dubious award for most consistently dirty, with six of its beaches considered unsafe 75% of the time.
If you’re looking for the cleanest beaches, these were Alaska and Hawaii, with Hawaii having a wider problem area but Alaska having one region that was particularly bad. So, if you’re looking to go to the beach, go to Hawaii (not much newsworthy there).
How Could This Happen?
Sewage runoff from ranches, which is basically animal poop being carried to rivers from the rain, is one major culprit. But so is human sewage from septic tanks, which a quarter of Americans use, along with poor sewer infrastructure.
The report points out that sewers overflow as many as 75,000 times each year. That makes you wonder just what these sewers are even there for at all.
And just in case this seems like a nonissue (how that could be, who knows?), swimming in poop water can cause all kinds of issues, from respiratory problems to skin rashes and infections and orifice infections.
This is also bad for eating seafood, as eating fish or other creatures that have been swimming in the stuff doesn’t bode well for anyone’s intestinal tract. In short, poo water is bad. Go figure.
How Can We Fix It?
Much of the country’s infrastructure needs to be overhauled. The EPA estimates that it would cost almost $300 billion to totally update the nation’s sewage systems and fix the wastewater problem causing these dirty beaches.
That might sound expensive, but then just think about the next time you’re at the beach and want to take a dip.
If you want to double-check the statistics present here, take a look at the source article here.