The Natural Resources Defense Council has released a new report on water quality at the nation’s beaches. The report–based on a review of federal data–found that Michigan’s beaches were closed or placed under advisories due to concerns over water quality 60% more frequently than they were in the previous year. The report states that Michigan’s beaches were closed or put under advisories 198 days last year, compared with 124 in 2006. Overall, Michigan was 20th nationally for the percentage of samplings exceeding US health standards in 2007. In Michigan, unknown sources of contamination caused 78 percent of the closings and advisories, 18 percent were from sewage and 4 percent were from stormwater.
Nationally, seven percent of beachwater samples violated health standards, showing no improvement from 2006. In the Great Lakes, 15 percent of beachwater samples violated those standards–the highest level of contamination of any coastal region in the continental US.