This NY beach named among America's most bacteria-polluted: group

The Surfrider Foundation just released its list of the top 10 most bacteria-polluted beaches in America during 2023, and a spot on Long Island made the list.

According to the group, Flying Point: Mecox Bay in Southampton, New York had a 46% high bacteria rate. Meanwhile, Nawiliwili Stream at Kalapaki Bay in Hawaii and Imperial Beach in San Diego, California both finished with 100%.

Source: Surfrider Foundation, 2023

Source: Surfrider Foundation, 2023

The organization set up the Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) which sampled water at 567 different sites across beaches, oceans, estuaries and freshwater creeks throughout the U.S. They collected 9,538 samples. About 22% of the samples showed high bacteria levels and 64% of the almost 600 beaches monitored didn't pass state health standards at least once. 

Some beaches only monitor in the summer. About 67% of the samples showed low bacteria levels and 11% showed medium levels.

"The majority of the water samples that failed to meet health standards were collected from freshwater sources, such as rivers, creeks, and marshes, which are influenced by stormwater runoff, or at beaches near these outlets," wrote Surfrider. "These results are consistent with national trends, which show that stormwater runoff is the number one cause of beach closures and swimming advisories in the U.S."

Source: Surfrider Foundation

Stormwater washes chemicals and other pollutants from streets and lawns into local waterways and down to the beach, the group said. Stormwater and flooding after heavy rain can also cause wastewater systems, like cesspools, septic systems and sewers, to fail and send untreated sewage into rivers, streams, oceans and lakes.

"Nearly 10 trillion gallons of untreated stormwater runoff flow into U.S. waterways every year, carrying a cocktail of pollutants including road dust, oil, animal waste, fertilizers, and other chemicals," Surfrider wrote. "Sewage can contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites that make people sick with gastrointestinal symptoms, rashes, skin and eye infections, flu-like symptoms, and worse."

Hillary Andrews, with FOX Weather, helped contribute to this report.