Swimmers taking a dip in the nations oceans, bays and lakes still stand a greater chance of getting sick, according to coastal advocates across the country who are planning to sue the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Groups like Clean Ocean Action (COA) and the NY/NJ Baykeeper have joined others in filing a notice of intent to sue the EPA over its new water quality criteria. They say the EPA allows water quality samples to exceed contamination levels that they themselves determined to be unsafe 10 percent of the time without triggering a violation.

COA Coastal Policy Attorney Sean Dixon says the new standards are inadequate and fail to protect public health.

"There's just too many questions raised by the signs they used, the criteria are outdated, outmoded and insufficient and at the end of the day, somebody going to the beach has too high a risk of getting sick."

Dixon says suggestions they've offered the EPA over the years have fallen on deaf ears.

"There's all sorts of things that can be done, rapid testing methods, better closures and storm monitoring. There are so many things that go into this problem that we know are solutions to it."

Dixon says the notice gives the EPA an opportunity to remedy the things they think are deficient in their standards for protecting people who are swimming. He says if not, a motion to sue the agency could be filed in two months.

The lawsuit is a nationwide initiative bringing people from California to New York as well as national groups such as Natural Resource Defense Council, who's acting as the lead attorney on this and The Water Keeper Alliance. Other groups include Hackensack Riverkeeper, Heal the Bay and Riverkeeper.