New Jersey’s swimming beaches rank seventh in the nation for the best water quality, according to a report released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The report, titled Testing the Waters, examines water quality data from last year at designated swimming beaches in every coastal state. The report uses Department of Environmental Protection test monitoring data.

Last year, the report listed New Jersey as fourth in the nation, ahead of popular beach vacation destinations such as Florida.

In 2012, the year on which the most recent report’s data is based, 4 percent of swimming beaches in the state failed water quality standards, with the most frequent failures in northern Ocean County.

Cape May County, according to the report, had the best beach water quality in the state, with only 2 percent of the tests failing to meet standards. Swimming beaches in Atlantic and Monmouth counties failed tests 3 percent of the time and Ocean County beaches failed tests 7 percent of the time, according to the report.

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