Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina beaches aren't close to being among the nation's cleanest, an environmental group said in a report released Wednesday.
The Natural Resources Defense Council ranked 3,000 beach sites across the U.S., based on water quality and public notification of closings.
The 14 North Carolina beaches included in the "Testing the Waters 2012" report scored one to three stars on the group's five-star scale. The group noted that none of the beaches monitors water quality more than once a week – even though half of them haven't reported any problems in the last three years – and that advisories for swimming or fishing or closings aren't posted online or at the beaches.
The report found that there were 23,481 times last year when a beach was closed or had a health advisory, which was down 3 percent from 2010 but still the third-highest number in the past 22 years. More than two-thirds of closings and advisories were issued because bacteria levels in the water exceeded public health standards, but the portion of all monitoring samples that exceeded standards remained stable at 8 percent last year compared to 2010.
Twelve beaches nationwide received a five-star rating in the report. Beaches in Maryland and Delaware were the closest five-star beaches to North Carolina.