2007_08_beachbum.jpgLooks like New York State beaches have become just as dirty as the thoughts you have while lying there sunning yourselves (and we're not just talking about hypodermic needles). A new report from the NRDC says there's been a serious rise in the number of health-related advisories and beach closings thanks to pollution. New York beaches experienced over 1200 days of closings and advisories last year (that's up from about 830 in 2005). You can read the report here.

But we're told to take heart in the fact that only about 30% of the closings were related to any real health threats with the remaining simply being pre-emptive - particularly following heavy rainfalls that dragged pollution from sewers into waters where we may swim. Yum. So who fared the worst? Suffolk County had the most closings and advisories, making up about 40% of the state's total. One of the worst offenders was Beachwood Beach West in New Jersey that violated public health standards about 60% of the time that water samples were obtained. Others rounding out the nation's worst include Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Minnesota.

So who's at fault? The report aims its finger at record rainfall and sewage and storm drainage systems, apparently horribly out of date and unable to keep up with our own waste. The number of closures thanks to pollution almost doubled since last year with over 25,000 beach closings and advisories nationwide. But please, keep telling us about your favorite, dirtiest New York beaches.

And because of the storm, some beaches may be closed, so call 311 for more information. Here's information from the Health Department about beach quality and safety.