According to a new report, beach water in Louisiana is ranked as some of the worst in the nation. The Natural Resources Defense Council says Louisiana ranks #26 out of 30 states for beach water quality.
Tenny Sibley is the Sanitarian Director for the Department of Health and Hospitals. She attributes the low ranking to several factors.
"Louisiana has a tremendous amount of wildlife along the coast," said Sibley. "Lots of fowl, birds defecating over the water which is a contaminant. We have a lot of boaters throwing waster overboard."
The report says 25 of Louisiana's 31 coastal beaches were sampled last year and 19% of the water tested was found to exceed the Environmental Protection Agency public health guideline for bacteria pollution.
Sibley says we all need to work to control the sources of contamination.
"Basically that's our human element," Sibley says. "Enjoy the water, that's great. But contain your waste and keep it out of the water."
Sibley says we have a lot of water fowl who deficate in the water and the farmland runoff waste into the water is also causing the bacteria level to increase.
She says it's important that humans not dump their waste into the water and contribute to the problem.
Sibley says this does not mean our beaches aren't safe.
"Any natural body of water is going to have bacteria in the water," said Sibley. "There is nothing you can do about it. It's there and you just need to be aware of it and take precautions."