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Can Your Favorite Beach Make You Sick?

Ronald Manera

When you picture a day at the beach, you usually don’t imagine stomach bugs, conjunctivitis and skin rashes. But that is just what you might get if your favorite beach is ripe with bacteria.

A new article from Time magazine shows that New England’s beaches are among the most contaminated in the country. Stormwater runoff and untreated sewage can oftentimes make their way to the coastline and in some cases make the water you want to swim in hazardous to your health.

Sadly the National Resources Defense Council shows that the number of unhealthy beaches is on the rise here in Massachusetts, going from 4% of area beaches exceeding daily bacteria maximums in 2012 to 10% exceeding daily bacteria maximums in 2013.

So which beaches are the biggest offenders?

Based on last year’s numbers Moses Smith Creek in Dartmouth is definitely the area’s biggest offender. The water there failed bacteria tests by the NRDC 54% of the time!

Pierce Beach in Somerset wasn’t far behind with 43% of samples exceeding bacteria levels.

And Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven was also high on the list last year, exceeding acceptable levels 26% of the time.

Some of the best beaches however include Horseneck Beach in Westport which failed bacteria tests 0% of the time. Also never failing last year was East Beach in New Bedford, Elephant Rock and Spindle Rock beaches in Westport and Knollmere Beach in Fairhaven among others.

Check out the full list of beaches in our area at the NRDC website by clicking below!

Southcoast Beaches by Bacteria Levels

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