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Are human feces polluting your favorite swimming spot?

At least once per year, contaminated water elicits public health warnings or shuts down about 1500 of the nation’s public beaches. Now, a recent study described in the Water and Environment Journal on one such coastline in Alabama shows much of the high bacteria load there comes from human feces and not the cow pies of nearby cattle as researchers had first suspected, Hakai Magazine reports. Although runoff can stir up bacteria hiding out in beach sand, that waters became dirty after big rainstorms suggests overflowing sewers are a likely culprit, the researchers say. 

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