By MaryAnn Martinez
More than half of the nation’s beaches are contaminated with poop and sewage making their waters unsafe to swim in, according to a shocking report by Environment America.
The group found 55% of more than 3,100 beaches it tested in 2022 had at least one day where “fecal contamination” reached potentially unsafe levels, surpassing the Environmental Protection Agency’s benchmark for beach advisories and closures.
Even more disgusting, American shores are polluted with human and animal waste, dumped into the ocean from sewage overflows, factory farms and industrial livestock operations.
Texas beaches were among the worst in the nation, with 90% of the 61 beaches tested at unsanitary levels.
As a region, the Gulf Coast tested the worst, with 84% of shoreline failing to meet clean standards — followed by the West Coast and then the Great Lakes.
Louisiana and Pennsylvania, with its Lake Erie beaches, were the top state offenders, with its beaches at 100% safety failure.
The annual survey of beaches by oceans, lakes and rivers includes a feature where users can track beaches by by state.
Oregon’s beaches are the most consistently dirty in the US, with six of its beaches being at unsafe sanitary levels over 75% of the time they were tested, according to the survey.
In a gag-worthy revelation, the environmental group notes most of the contamination was in the form of feces from sewers, private septic tanks — used by one in four Americans — and animal waste from industrial farms.
Swimming in poop water can cause “respiratory disease, ear and eye infection, and skin rash,” the group warns, noting there are some 57 millions of cases of water-borne illnesses reported in the US every year.
“Unfortunately, sewage infrastructure around the country is inadequate or in poor repair, enabling raw sewage to find its way into our waterways,” the report reads.
“Sanitary sewers overflow as many as 75,000 times each year in the US.”
Urban sprawl, such a new construction, paving roads and parking lots, aren’t helping either.
“Paving over wetlands or forests that had once absorbed rainfall and filtered pollution makes this problem worse.”
“People can also develop gastrointestinal illnesses, including hepatitis A and norovirus, after eating shellfish that were harvested from polluted waters,” Kelly Johnson-Arbor, medical toxicologist at the National Capital Poison Control Center, told Fox News.
Beach-goers should check beach advisories and avoid going in the water if they have open sores, said Environment America.
Updating the country’s aging sewage system is one way to lessen the problem. Although Congress has committed over $25 billion to sewage and stormwater projects since 2021, the EPA says estimates it would cost closer to $271 billion to fix wastewater infrastructure across the country.