2011 Swimming Season Statistics
Other Beaches Links
For the seventh consecutive year, in 2011, the nation’s coastal and Great Lakes beaches were open 95 percent of the time during the swimming season. Read about more 2011 national beach monitoring and notification statistics (PDF) (4 pp, 429K, About PDF) as well as recent developments in EPA's beach program.
Beach water monitoring is conducted primarily to detect bacteria that indicate the possible presence of disease-causing microbes (pathogens) from sewage or fecal pollution. People swimming in water contaminated with these types of pathogens can contract diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, eyes, ears, skin, and upper respiratory tract. When monitoring results show levels of concern, the state or local government issues a beach advisory or closure notice until further sampling shows that the water quality is meeting the applicable standards. The 2011 report shows that more than 55 percent of beach closures lasted only a day or two.
Beach water pollution can occur for a number of reasons including stormwater runoff after heavy rainfall, treatment plant malfunctions,sewer system overflows, and pet and wildlife waste on or near the beach. To help minimize beachgoers' risk of exposure to pathogens in beachwaters, EPA is helping communities build and properly operate sewage treatment plants, working to reduce overflows as much as possible, and working with the U.S. Coast Guard to reduce discharges from boats and larger ships. Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2000, EPA provides annual grants to coastal and Great Lakes states, territories, and eligible tribes to help local authorities monitor their coastal and Great Lakes beaches and notify the public of water quality conditions that may be unsafe for swimming.
Beaches are currently being monitored for the 2012 swimming season. See the latest information that coastal and Great Lakes states, territories and tribes have sent to EPA.
For 2011 data on an individual state, please choose a state from the map below. Please note that 2011 data for some states are undergoing final state approval and are not yet available.