Is your beach safe for swimming?

For too many Americans, a swim at the local river or beach also means a nasty rash, ear infection, or illness. Swimming is the second most popular sports activity in the country (after walking), but pollution in the water from sewage or street runoff can really put a damper on summer fun. In 2010, water pollution prompted more than 24,000 closings and warnings at beaches around the country.

So how can you enjoy summer fun on the river, while keeping yourself, your pets, and your family safe? Find out if your beach is safe for swimming using EPA’s interactive map.

American Rivers is working to stop pollution before it fouls your favorite beach or swimming hole. We are stemming the flow of polluted runoff – the water that rushes over streets and parking lots when it rains. When a lot of rain flows into storm drains all at once, water treatment plants can be overwhelmed – forcing communities to discharge untreated stormwater and sewage into local waterways. 

We are helping communities keep their water clean – and keep beaches open for business – by using innovative solutions like rain gardens, green roofs, rain barrels, and permeable pavement that manage polluted runoff more effectively. A rain garden, for example, is an area planted with water-tolerant grasses and flowers that is designed to soak up polluted runoff from a street or parking lot. Not only does the rain garden help the water soak into the ground, it naturally filters out the pollution.

American Rivers is also fighting on Capitol Hill to safeguard clean water protections that impact rivers and streams nationwide.

So grab your bathing suit and your paddle and head out to your river to enjoy the final weeks of summer. Just make sure the water’s safe. And if you encounter a beach closure or health advisory sign, we’d like to hear your story – let us know!