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Report: CA Beaches Tainted With Sewage

July 30, 2008

Los Angeles, CA - California is home not only to some of the country's most popular beaches, but also to some of the dirtiest. The Natural Resources Defense Council tested two-thirds of the state's more than 400 public beaches for their annual beach water quality report. They found unhealthy levels of bacteria that come from human and animal waste in seven percent of the samples, with the most polluted beaches in Los Angeles County.

Nancy Stoner, director of the NRDC Clean Water Project, says beach users should question officials or lifeguards if they don't see safety information posted at beaches.

"Tell them that you actually want that information, and ask if the lifeguard can help you to get that information posted right there at the beach where everyone can see it. "

Stoner says it's also important that such safety information be posted before 10 a.m. She says most beaches don't release that information until later in the day, when people have already been in the water.

"Then they would have a much better indication than they have right now as to whether the water quality is safe and whether it's safe to swim."

The report finds the greatest source of pollution comes from dirty storm water runoff. The tainted water can cause a number of illnesses such as stomach flu, respiratory problems and even hepatitis.

Lori Abbott/Steve Powers, Public News Service - CA