By Alex DeMetrick

OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — In Ocean City, water is the draw. And in an annual survey of the nation’s beaches, Ocean City water is among the cleanest in the U.S.

Alex DeMetrick reports–that’s good for health and business.

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If summer means a dip in the ocean, then come on in. The water’s more than fine in Ocean City.

According to an annual survey by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Maryland’s beaches are among the 11 cleanest in the nation.

“We are a five star beach according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. And we’re very honored and pleased to be able to have that distinction,” said Donna Abbott, O.C. tourism director.

It’s lab work that makes that determination. The lower the harmful bacteria count, the higher the score.

“We have eight testing sites along the beach that are tested on a regular basis,” Abbott said. “And they’ve come through once again with top honors for cleanliness.”

Which is something most beachgoers never see, much less think about.

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But they’re happy to learn the water there won’t make them sick, especially when advisories and closings for fecal contamination routinely top 20,000 U.S. beaches a year.

“Who wants to go to a polluted beach? Nobody,” a visitor said.

“I think it’s awesome that we have one of the cleanest beaches. I think that gives pride to me being a Marylander,” said Jessica Madsen. “It also keeps me at peace in mind to go out there and swim.”

Clean water doesn’t just happen. It takes the right amount of sewage treatment and the right precautions to protect the plant.

“With Hurricane Irene, we actually shut down our treatment plant before the storm came so that we wouldn’t have those issues,” said Abbott.

And while public health is the top concern, good publicity is good for business.

“It makes me want to come back,” a visitor said.

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Besides Ocean City, Bethany Beach, Dewey and Rehoboth beaches in Delaware are also among the 11 cleanest beaches in the U.S.