Beach Report

Beach Report

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles County had the worst overall beach water quality last year in California, according to the 19th annual "Beach Report Card" released by Heal the Bay.

Only 70 percent of beach sites in the county earned A or B grades -- a state-low total for the fourth year and nearly even with last year's 71 percent tally, according to the environmental group.

Fifteen beaches in Los Angeles County received year-round F grades, with a half-dozen of those ranking on the organization's annual "Beach Bummer" list of the most polluted sites in the state.

The report lists those beaches as:

-- Avalon Harbor Beach on Catalina Island;

-- Cabrillo Beach harborside;

-- Pismo Beach Pier in San Luis Obispo County;

-- Colorado Lagoon;

-- Santa Monica Municipal Pier;

-- City of Long Beach at LA River outlet;

-- Poche Beach in Orange County;

-- Surfrider Beach at Malibu Creek;

-- Campbell Cove State Park Beach in Sonoma County; and

-- Doheny Beach at San Juan Creek in Orange County.

Statewide, 262 of 307 locations -- 85 percent of the beaches -- received A and B grades during dry weather, with just 32 of the beaches monitored statewide receiving D or F grades last summer, according to Heal the Bay.

Overall, Orange County beaches recorded water quality grades that were well above the state average, according to the group. Some 97 percent of 103 monitoring locations got an A or B during the summer, as well as 93 percent for year-round dry weather.

Heal the Bay officials said one of the reasons Los Angeles County lags in water quality is that its monitoring agencies collect samples directly in front of flowing storm drains and creeks, where polluted runoff often pools.

But many of Los Angeles County's most polluted beaches, including Avalon Harbor, Cabrillo Beach and several sites in Long Beach, do not sit near storm drains, according to the group.

The group noted that Long Beach's water quality overall is poor because it sits at the terminus of the Los Angeles River, but that it showed its best water quality in the past three years.

For the first time, Heal the Bay also handed out perfect "A+" grades, with 79 beaches never exceeding bacterial standards. In Los Angeles County, A+ sites included Will Rogers State Beach on Pacific Coast Highway, Dockweiler State Beach at the Imperial Highway drain, Manhattan State Beach at 40th Street and Portuguese Bend Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Eighty-six percent of Santa Monica Bay beaches -- from Leo Carrillo to Palos Verdes -- got A or B grades during the high-traffic summer beach-going season, down slightly from last year but up dramatically from annual overages over the past six years, according to the report.

The report card on coastal water quality is based on daily and weekly samples taken from sites along the state's coastline.

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