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Beach closures, health advisories in California nearly doubled last year, report says

June 29, 2011 |  2:39 pm

The number of times the nation’s beaches were closed because of polluted water jumped last year to its second-highest level in 20 years, in part because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and heavy rains that washed toxic metals, trash and fertilizer into the ocean at an accelerated rate, according to a report released Wednesday.

In California, the number of beach closures and health advisories nearly doubled in 2010, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The report found that water quality at beaches mirrors weather patterns and that storm runoff is a top source of ocean pollution. The authors of the study said local governments should be working harder to stop urban runoff so that water quality doesn’t just rise and fall depending on rainfall.

“Hoping that it isn't going to rain is not a viable storm water management strategy,” said Noah Garrison, an attorney for the environmental group.

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-- Tony Barboza