Global warming documentary Chasing Ice to show at Princeton film festival

January 17, 2013 by admin  
Filed under Featured, Global Warming

Houses swept away by floodwaters; record drought, wildfire and hurricanes; melting ice caps and the hottest summer on record – how can anyone doubt global warming?

Photographer James Balog, once a skeptic, sets out to prove it through his Extreme Ice Survey, capturing photographic evidence of melting, disappearing glaciers. Filmmaker Jeff Orlowski documents the lengths to which Balog goes to prove his point – including kicking off his boots to plunge into the icy water for one chilling shot in Chasing Ice.

decaying ice, Iceland copyright JAMES BALOGDespite a bum knee, Balog hikes ice caps in Alaska, Iceland and Greenland, placing specially developed cameras that will endure the harsh conditions and record the glacier meltdown through time-lapse photography.

The Sundance Film Festival award-winner will be screened at the seventh annual Princeton Environmental Film Festival Feb. 2, 7 p.m. It is one of 35 films that will be shown over three weekends, Jan. 24 through Feb. 10, at the Princeton Public Library.

Documenting climate change

Chasing Ice “is the best visual representation of climate change I’ve ever seen,” said festival director Susan Conlon.

It took seven years for Balog to create and station his cameras and have them execute the images, yet his time-lapse videos compress those years into seconds to show ancient mountains of ice disappear before our eyes.

Observing Balog up close, “I have never met someone so dedicated to their passions,” filmmaker Orlowski said.

One of the scariest moments was watching Balog climb down the canyon and onto a broken piece of ice as he looked into a shaft in the glacier. “None of us were sure if it was going to break,” said Orlowski, 28. “Everyone was on the edge of the seats.”

Indeed the entire crew engaged in risky behavior in order to help Balog fulfill his mission. Note to Orlowski’s parents: do not read the following quote from your son. “In retrospect, there were a lot of life-threatening experiences.”

At the end of the film, Balog says he went to such lengths so his children would know he did all he could to inform the world about climate change. Those who continue to deny climate change “do not have access to the science,” said Orlowski. “Most of climate science is in numbers and graphs and in such technical terms that people don’t understand it and think it is not true. Now we have evidence that is accessible to all people.”

Our connection with nature

The theme for this year’s Princeton Environmental Film Festival is “sense of place.” When we think of environmental issues such as climate change, reckless development and green energy affecting our own state, town, even neighborhood, they become more threatening.

“Many of the films tell stories about people and places outside our state, and reveal how we are more connected than we realize,” said Conlon.

Films falling into this category are “You’ve Been Trumped” (d. Anthony Baxter) in which a group of townspeople in Scotland band together when developer Donald Trump begins construction of an elaborate golf resort on a fragile piece of wilderness in Scotland; Detropia” (d. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady), told through the eyes of people struggling to stay in post-industrial Motor City, once a grand city; “The Battle for Brooklyn” (d. Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley) about the struggle of residents fighting to preserve their neighborhood from the developer of Atlantic Yards, including Barclays Center sports arena.

Princeton resident Andrea Odezynska made Felt, Feelings and Dreams, following a small group of Kyrgyz women who pull themselves out from crushing poverty by reviving ancient traditions of making crafts and art from felt.

Against scenes of rocky mountains dotted with yurts and traditional ethnic music from the region, we see women of all ages pouring their might into shearing, soaking and beating the wool fibers, rendering it into colorful textiles.

In the six years since the festival was begun, “we have learned a lot about what makes it appealing to people returning from previous years and those just discovering it,” said Conlon.

The most important criteria for selecting films is the quality of the film, and emphasis on storytelling. “We do not set out with a list of issues or a checklist. What we want the films, on their own and as part of the whole festival, to do is encourage us to explore and expand our concepts of sustainability.”

As attendees become impassioned by what they see, “Our community organizations like Sustainable Princeton, Stonybrook-Millstone Watershed Association, DR Greenway Land Trust, school gardens, and others are great gateways for people to get involved,” said Conlon. “There are resources provided on many of the films’ websites that offer opportunities to learn more about issues explored in the films. And some people have been inspired to tell their stories by making their own films, seeking opportunities to learn about filmmaking and access equipment at Princeton’s TV-30.”

The Princeton Environmental Film Festival takes place Jan. 24-27, Jan. 31-Feb. 3 and Feb. 7-10 at the Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon St., Princeton. The complete schedule can be found at the festival’s website. Free admission to all films, thanks to support from Church Dwight, Inc., Terra Momo Restaurant Group, and The Whole Earth Center of Princeton. Doors open 30 minutes prior to screening; reservations not accepted.

Article source: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/49638

NRDC: Defending Communities

January 11, 2013 by admin  
Filed under Water Quality

QA with Kate Sinding, NRDC senior attorney and deputy director of the New York urban program.

How can people in places like New Wilmington (see “Fracking the Amish“) defend themselves if they don’t want oil and gas companies to undertake massive fracking operations in their communities?

If a city or town decides it doesn’t want fracking, that community’s voice should be heard and respected. But it can be very difficult for elected officials and community leaders to challenge large corporations and get up to date quickly about the many legal and environmental issues involved with oil and gas drilling. Plus, the rules and regulations are different in each state where fracking wells are being drilled — and in a lot of states, communities have little or no power to “just say no” to the industry. That’s why NRDC launched the Community Fracking Defense Project last year. We’re offering our legal and policy assistance to local governments in five states — New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and North Carolina — that want added control over the siting of drilling in their communities, or ways to ensure their residents are protected against the harms of fracking.

What are you helping those communities do?

The practical and legal realities in each of these states are different, so it varies. We have been working with our local partners to evaluate the lay of the land and identify the opportunities that are most promising, effective, and potentially precedential in each of these states. In some places, our legal and policy staff can help local officials draft local laws and land-use plans that control the extent of fracking within their borders — even banning it outright. In others, we’re working with communities to expand their rights to protect themselves under state law. And we can help defend relevant zoning provisions and other local laws that are challenged by gas companies in court. In September, just as we launched this project, NRDC filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of a number of municipalities in which we supported a lower court decision that strikes down portions of a Pennsylvania law that would severely limit the ability of local governments to use their zoning powers to control where fracking occurs. Recently, we filed another friend-of-the-court brief in New York seeking to affirm that local governments have broad powers to protect their citizens.

Why is it important to address fracking issues at the local level, in addition to the state and federal levels?

NRDC is working hard to ensure states and the federal government put sufficient rules in place to better protect against fracking’s risks. But, so far, they have fallen short. And communities need to be able to stand up for themselves. Over three quarters of a century ago, our Supreme Court held that communities have the right to enact local laws to protect “public health, safety, morals, and general welfare.” It is hard to imagine a situation where this right would be more critical than with fracking — a heavy industrial activity that dramatically alters the character of every community where wells are being drilled in substantial numbers.

Is NRDC against fracking?

NRDC opposes expanded fracking until effective safeguards are in place. Over the last decade, the oil and gas industry has drilled thousands of new wells, and they are seeking to expand across the nation as new technology makes it easier to extract gas from previously inaccessible sites. Along the way, fracking has been a suspect in polluted drinking water and a host of other environmental and public health problems in every state where it has popped up. To date, federal and state rules have proven woefully inadequate to protect against the risks. And the industry has used its political power to escape accountability for its actions at every turn. That’s why NRDC is working to protect communities across the nation from the impacts of dangerous fracking practices and help them stand up to oil and gas companies when they’ve been wronged.

Residents or elected officials interested in more information about the Community Fracking Defense Project can contact NRDC here.

Article source: http://www.onearth.org/article/nrdc-defending-communities

Oil Platform Fire Sends Shockwaves Through Gulf On Heels of Record BP Fines

November 20, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Toxic Spills

An oil platform explosion and fire today near the site of the nation’s greatest offshore oil spill in history—BP’s Deepwater Horizon—sent shivers up the spines of many Gulf residents as the U.S. Coast Guard reported that 11 crewmembers were flown to area hospitals and two crewmembers were still missing as of Friday evening. News reports said four workers were critically injured with burns.

A Coast Guard spokesman said the oil and gas platform was 20 miles southeast of Grand Isle, LA, and was owned by Black Elk Energy, a fast-growing oil and gas drilling operation based in Houston. News reports stated the oil platform was not actively producing oil and that a welder involved in a maintenance operation may have caused the accident. Although there were reports of an oil sheen near the platform, there were no reports of a major oil leak.

NRDC President Frances Beinecke, a member of the presidential national oil commission that investigated the BP oil disaster, issued this statement:

“Though the BP criminal case is settled, today’s accident makes clear that the hazards of oil and gas drilling are not in America’s rear view.  It is a sad reminder that offshore drilling is an inherently dangerous business. Workers and communities are put in harm’s way every day and will continue to be as long as we prioritize this risky energy development. Our leaders must keep that squarely in mind when considering where and how to allow further drilling along our coasts and in our communities.”

The Black Elk Energy accident came the day after the U.S. Justice Department announced a criminal settlement with BP involving a record-setting $4.5 billion in fines, indicting three company officials on criminal charges. Civil penalties against BP are still pending.

Many people in the Gulf are still recovering from the BP oil disaster that residents say continues to impact their fisheries and beaches more than two years later. Grand Isle mayor David Camardelle, whose community has been one of the hardest hit by the oil disaster, said he was saddened to learn of the latest offshore oil rig fire and injuries to workers. “It’s a tragic accident and my sympathies go out to the families of the workers who were impacted. But thankfully it appears this is not another BP disaster.”

Tar balls found on Grand Isle, LA, this month            Photo: Mac MacKenzie

Camardelle said his community still has oil and tar balls on its beaches after storms, especially after Hurricane Isaac hit their area last August. And he said many fishermen are suffering from reduced catches and have not been adequately compensated by BP for their losses. “We feel like we’re forgotten sometimes,” he said. “We can put robots on Mars, but we can’t tell how much BP oil is still out in the Gulf. Something’s wrong with that.”

Kindra Arnesen, wife of a fisherman in Buras, LA, said she too was saddened by the accident, which she says hits close to home since so many of her friends and neighbors work in the oil industry. “My heart goes out to those families,” she said. “This may have been a fluke accident, but it makes me wonder, what really has changed in the oil industry since the BP explosion? We’re still using the same blowout preventers, so it seems like we should be doing something better.”

That point was made in a blog this summer by NRDC’s David Pettit, part of a coalition of conservation groups that filed a lawsuit to push for greater drilling safety in the Gulf. He reminded people that many questions raised by the presidential commission still remain unanswered:

Their investigation uncovered serious flaws in oil industry and regulatory practices.  These accidents-waiting-to-happen remain unaddressed, with the Gulf’s battered ecosystems and vital billion-dollar tourism and fisheries hanging in the balance. If drilling is to continue, more must be done to improve drilling safety and safeguard our natural resources.  The largest oil spill in America’s history should have been a wakeup call.  If we refuse to learn from that mistake, it will become a recurring nightmare instead.

That’s a nightmare no one wants to live through again.

Article source: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rkistner/an_explosion_and_fire_on.html

New NRDC Report Shows Arctic Oil Development Needs to be Put on Hold

August 23, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Toxic Spills, Uncategorized

With the Department of the Interior considering whether to grant Shell permits to drill in America’s Arctic Ocean, and Shell scrambling to get started amid a flurry of problems, a new NRDC report details the huge risks that come with the rush toward oil and gas development off of Alaska’s North Slope.

The findings are eye-opening for anybody who has listened to Big Oil’s laissez-faire approach to drilling in one of the world’s last truly pristine and wild places.

The author of the report is Jeff Goodyear, Ph.D., an accomplished oceanographer and marine ecologist with over twenty-five years of experience contributing to new scientific discoveries, who has led field research projects in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic. This report combines his expertise with interviews of local residents, scientists and officials. To read the full report, click here. Some highlights:

  • Alaska’s North Slope lacks the infrastructure to support any significant spill cleanup. Essentially, there are no roads, few airports, no deep-water ports and the nearest Coast Guard base is 1,000 miles away.
  • The likelihood of spills in the Arctic is high – too high. In fact, the report shows, on average there has been a spill of oil or associated chemicals once a day since oil and gas development began on the North Slope.
  • Shell’s claims about its capabilities to clean up an oil spill in icy water are overblown. Traditional means of recovery and clean up—booms and skimmers, in-situ burning, and chemical dispersants—have each been shown to be dramatically less effective in conditions typical of the Arctic than in calmer, warmer waters such as those in the Gulf of Mexico. Given these factors, effectively responding to an oil spill would be nearly impossible.

The release of this report could not be more timely—the final drill permits have not yet been issued and last week Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced he would “hold [Shell’s] feet to the fire in terms of making sure that we are doing everything we can to abide by the standards and regulations that we have set and make sure the environment in the Arctic seas are protected.”

Peter E. Slaiby, Shell’s vice president in charge of Alaskan operations, responded, “We absolutely expect to drill this year.” Shell is chomping at the bit to begin drilling in the final weeks of the already short window of relief from ocean ice. However, the Arctic Challenger, a major component of Shell’s oil spill response plan, is undergoing a major retrofit in a shipyard near Seattle and is not yet certified by the Coast Guard. Raising additional concerns over Shell’s preparedness to safely and responsibly operate in the harsh, unpredictable conditions of the Arctic Ocean is the incident last month when the Noble Discoverer (a 1960’s log ship converted into a drill ship in the 1970’s) slipped anchor while in harbor.

Shell is acting as if drilling this summer is a done deal, as if final approval has been granted. It has not. And Shell is not ready to begin drilling in Arctic waters. The administration must absolutely hold Shell to its commitments. Secretary Salazar must stand by his words, “It’s a necessity for Shell to be able to demonstrate that they have met regulatory requirements…if they are not met, there won’t be Shell exploration efforts that will occur this year.”

America’s Arctic Ocean is too precious to wager on hasty oil and gas development. The risks involved, as the report shows, warrant postponing offshore drilling in the Arctic until comprehensive research can be completed and a proven and thoroughly effective system for responding to spills is in place.

The administration needs to hold Shell’s feet to the fire.

Clint Kincaid aided Chuck Clusen with this post.

Article source: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/cclusen/new_nrdc_report_shows_arctic_o.html

Yellowstone River Damaged by Exxon Pipeline Oil Spill - Exxon’s History in …

July 5, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Toxic Spills

Oil in Montana's Yellowstone River  Photo by NWF's Alexis Bonogofsky

While everyone is holding their collective breath, hoping that future developments do not worsen regarding the news that an Exxon pipeline carrying oil crude broke in the middle of the Yellowstone River outside of Billings Montana releasing thousands of gallons of crude into the river, industry’s record for safeguarding oil and gas pipelines in the state of Montana – and Exxon specifically – is dismal.

While we cannot predict what will happen in the near future, if other Big Oil disasters are any evidence, we can probably foresee in the next few hours and days that Exxon will pull out an all too familiar public relations playbook to avoid further scrutiny of their actions in order to avoid full culpability:

One, Exxon will claim that the immediate disaster is over and the natural resource damage and impacts to human health are minimal. They will also likely underreport, or deemphasize the amount of oil actually spilled. A day into the disaster, Exxon has already begun to do this.  Exxon spokesman have said that the spill has been fairly well contained and that there is “very little soiling” of stream banks beyond 10-miles.  Given that no one has been able to actually inspect the ruptured pipeline, since its submerged at the bottom of a raging free-flowing river that is two-feet above flood stage, one wonders how Exxon can claim so soon that everything is now abated and the damage is negligible.

Two, Exxon will pledge that they will fully clean and repair the damaged resources. Again, Exxon is saying as much in a statement today, “We will stay with the cleanup until it is complete…” Even if this is the case and Exxon is fully committed to cleanup, we know that their version of what is cleaned is not the same as others – see Prince William Sound.  Exposure to oil, especially to aquatic life, is devastating and long-lasting (see NRDC’s Matthew Skoglund and his recent posting on the importance of the Yellowstone River’s fishery for the region and beyond).

Three, Exxon will claim that safety is their number one priority. Predictably, Exxon has said as much in the last 24-hours, that the pipeline was inspected six months ago and met “all regulatory requirements.” Given their emphasis on oversized profits, I would go back to the previous exhibit, which speaks to Exxon’s thought process leading it to site an oil pipeline in one the most scenic, ecologically critical, and longest undammed river in the contiguous United States.

Four, Exxon will probably maintain that this was a freak accident and could not have been foretold or prevented. A full airing of Exxon’s record will show that this is simply not the case.  One only has to look at how it has maintained (or not) their Yellowstone Pipeline.  The Yellowstone Pipeline is a 550-mile pipeline that originates from the refineries in Billings, MT, makings its way westward to deliver petroleum products to Idaho and the state of Washington (the Yellowstone Pipeline and the Silvertip crude pipeline that failed this week, are nominally part of a larger system that Exxon oversees).  The pipeline was sited in some of the most rugged country to be found in this nation.  But rather than respecting the fact that the Yellowstone Pipeline was situated in such a harsh environment, Exxon and Conoco who co-managed the pipeline, failed often to maintain it satisfactorily.  In its 55-plus year history, it has leaked hundreds of thousands of gallons of petroleum into Montana’s rivers and lands.

Most famously, Exxon and Conoco in the mid 1990’s realized that a right-of-way for the Yellowstone Pipeline that went through the middle of the sovereign Flathead Indian Reservation, was soon to expire and had to be renewed with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes who controlled the lease. Problem was the pipeline had spilled at least 71 times on the 1.2 million acre reservation, contaminating tribal fishing and hunting grounds.  When it came time to renew, the tribal members had only recently witnessed a spill with the pipeline that resulted in a whopping 163,000 gallons leaking into a reservation creek.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes, were to say the least, reticent to renew the lease given the damage that Exxon and company had caused.  In this milieu, the Yellowstone Pipeline management went to the extraordinary measures to apologize to tribal members by posting a full-page advertisement in the tribal newspaper saying, “We’ve done serious damage to the land’ ‘For this we are truly sorry ‘ We’re asking for a chance to do things right.”  And while Exxon and Conoco approved the ad, they did not notice the howling coyote that was seemingly inserted by the paper’s staff within the oil company’s advertisement.  As High Country News reported at the time, “Tribal members must have noticed: Coyote is known as a trickster in many tribal legends, one who can’t always be trusted.”  With that, the tribal members rejected the renewal of the lease, and turned away from millions of dollars from Exxon; possibly realizing that millions in dollars cannot compensate for the loss of irreplaceable natural resources.

Which brings me back to Claim #4 in trying to pawn this accident as a freak occurence, Exxon can commit all they want to cleaning up the damage – as they should – but we should question the accidental nature of these incidents.  As history has shown, Exxon has often chosen a path that allows for spills, and the environment and human health are often the losers.  The Yellowstone spill might actually be a rare accident – if and when all the facts come to light – but this only proves that stronger enforcement and accountability for current pipelines are an absolute must.

Note: this is not the only insult to Montana’s environment that is happening under Exxon’s watch.  Exxon also plans to turn the scenic highways of Montana into an industrial superhighway to serve tar sands extraction in Canada by sending hundreds of “megaload” shipments through the state’s scenic highways.   For more information see: Exxon Solves Their Megaload Problem - By Cutting the Trees to Shreds

Article source: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/bmcenaney/yellowstone_river_damaged_by_e.html

Testing The Waters - NRDC

July 2, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Water Quality

Click the following to find your local beach:   NRDC Ratings for a Selection of U. S. Popular Beaches.

Testing the Waters 2011

En Español

NRDC’s annual survey of water quality and public notification at U.S. beaches finds that the number of beach closings and advisories in 2010 reached 24,091 — the second-highest level since NRDC began tracking these events 21 years ago, confirming that our nation’s beaches continue to suffer from bacterial pollution that puts swimmers at risk.

Testing the Waters focuses primarily on bacteria-related beach water quality concerns. This year and last year, the report also highlighted closures, advisories, and notices issued at beaches impacted by last summer’s BP oil disaster. From the beginning of the spill until June 15, 2011 there have been a total of 9,474 days of oil-related beach notices, advisories and closures at Gulf Coast beaches due to the spill.

Nearly three-quarters of the 2010 beach closings and advisories were issued because water quality monitoring revealed bacteria levels exceeding health and safety standards. Across the country, aging and poorly designed sewage treatment systems and contaminated stormwater are often to blame for beachwater pollution.

Promising developments could improve protection of public health at U.S. beaches. Most importantly, the Environmental Protection Agency has embarked upon a major overhaul of its Clean Water Act regulations that apply to urban and suburban runoff pollution. These changes have the potential to broadly ensure that impervious areas that generate runoff pollution will be designed in a way to retain a significant amount of stormwater on site.

In addition, as a result of legal pressure from NRDC, the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to update its decades-old beachwater quality standards by 2012. The legal settlement requires EPA to:

  • Conduct new health studies and swimmer surveys.
  • Approve a water-testing method that will produce same-day results.
  • Protect beachgoers from a broader range of waterborne illnesses.

The illnesses associated with polluted beachwater include conditions such as skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis and hepatitis. By contrast, current standards focus on gastrointestinal illnesses such as the stomach flu. Current water quality tests also take 24 hours or more to produce results, so beaches are not closed or placed under advisory until after beachgoers have spent a day swimming in water that did not meet water quality standards. The EPA’s changes represent much-needed progress toward promoting safer and healthier beaches along U.S. coastlines.

Keeping Water Safe by Cleaning Up Pollution

Despite these steps forward, the agreement doesn’t actually require local beach officials to use the rapid-testing methods developed by EPA. That’s one big reason that NRDC has supported the Clean Coastal Environment and Public Health Act when it has been considered previously in Congress. This bill would push states to begin using rapid-water tests within one year of EPA validation. The measure would also authorize funding for studies that identify the sources of beachwater pollution, which is the first step towards preventing this pollution from reaching the beach. In 2010, the source of contaminated beachwater was reported as unknown more than half the time.

EPA’s reform of its regulations will be a major opportunity to advance communities’ use of green infrastructure. In addition, leaders in Congress have introduced bills to promote green infrastructure, require stormwater retention by highway development projects, and fund community infrastructure improvements.

People can also help prevent beach pollution by taking simple steps, such as picking up pet waste, maintaining septic systems, putting swim diapers with plastic covers on babies, and keeping trash off the beach.

Beach Ratings: How Clean Is Your Beach?

In 2011, NRDC rated 200 popular beaches based on the cleanliness of the water and their monitoring and public notification practices. How clean is your beach? Check the ratings here.

Near Record High Number of Beach Closings in 2010

June 29, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Water Quality

Near Record High Number of Beach Closings in 2010

Aluminum can buried in beach sand

June 29, 2011 — Last year, America’s beaches had the second-highest number of closings and advisory days in more than two decades. Dirty, polluted water was the main culprit.

In 2010, U.S. beaches were closed for 24,091 days, up 29% from 2009, according to the 21st annual beach water quality report, which was released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental action group headquartered in New York City.

The increase is mainly the result of heavy rainfall in Hawaii, contamination from unidentified sources in California, and oil washing up from the Gulf oil spill. Seventy percent of the closings resulted from too-high levels of bacteria from human or animal waste that finds its way into oceans in large part because of storm water runoff and sewage overflow. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 10 trillion gallons of untreated storm water makes its way to surface water each year.

“This year’s report confirms that our nation’s beach water continues to suffer from serious contamination,” David Beckman, director of the water program at the NRDC, said during a teleconference.

Beach water pollution poses health risks including stomach flu, skin rashes, and pinkeye; and ear, nose, and throat problems. Overall, the Great Lakes region had the most frequently contaminated beach water in 2010, and the Southeast, New York-New Jersey coast, and Delmarva region had the cleanest beach water, the new report showed. Individual states with the highest rates of reported contamination in were Louisiana, Ohio, and Indiana. States with the lowest rates of contamination last year were New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Hawaii, and Delaware. The NRDC based their report on government data on beach water at more than 3,000 beaches nationwide, and also gave ratings to 200 popular public beaches based on their water quality.

Common Sense Advice for Beach Days

Beach goers can also do their share to make sure a day at the beach is nothing short of a day at the beach, said NRDC senior water attorney Jon Devine.

“A day at the beach doesn’t have to mean getting sick,” he says. “Don’t swim near or in front of storm drains and don’t swim within 72 hours of heavy rain,” Devine says.

And always make sure you check for closures or advisory notices before you hit the beach, he says. “If the water looks or smells funny, don’t go in,” he says.

“Picking up your garbage, not feeding birds or other wildlife, cleaning up after your pets, and directing water runoff from your house to soil, not the street also helps,” he says.

On a national level, green infrastructure — which involves the use of techniques that allow rainwater to infiltrate the soil, instead of flowing to storm drains that carry it to nearby water bodies — is part of the safer beach water solution. Congress is mulling over a Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act.

Article source: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20110629/near-record-high-number-of-beach-closings-in-2010