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Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches

As Americans head for the beach, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) issues its twelfth annual report on the status of beach and recreational water quality. Entitled Testing the Waters, the report offers readers a fifty-fifty appraisal of the nation's lake and ocean recreational beach sites. That is, while water quality overall is indeed improving in the United States, beach water quality is suffering notable setbacks, with increasing reports of beach closings and harmful bacteria or contaminant postings. With more than one third of all Americans visiting or vacationing at beach areas, water quality is no small issue, as it impacts both health and economic vitality of areas branded by closings or warnings. In public interest, therefore, the NRDC urges that more be done to ensure that water quality is carefully monitored, reported, and addressed at governmental, corporate, and local levels. Toward that end, the NRDC lists both the good and the bad, groups they identify as "Beach Buddies" and "Beach Bums," respectively those areas that monitor and disclose findings and those that don't. With state-by-state listings of water quality reports and links to many other environmentally dedicated resources, the report should interest all who use America's recreational water sites.
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