The Water Quality of Southern Californian Beaches Scores Top on Summer

Beachgoers say that Californian shores have good water quality last summer with the beaches of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. According to the Heal the Bay‘s Beach Report Card, the water is even cleaner than the average amount. But also, the reports say that it is risky to have found that ocean water after it rains.

In addition, the two counties well represented on the Heal the Bay’s Roll Honor List of 35 Californian coasts getting year-round best scores. Orange County ranks the list with 10, and Los Angeles County seconds 7, covering April 2020 through March 2021.

In general, 93% of beaches statewide have earned an “A” or a “B” in the critical summer months relative to recent years. And was 94% in Los Angeles County and 96% in Orange County.

“It is not surprising that people looked for local waters in 2020 with the ceasing, stress, and unpredictability of the current global crisis. However, we are glad about the excellent water quality grades in California. But still, our marine ecosystems are threatened by climate change and other pollution sources.”, said the President and CEO of Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay, Shelley Luce.

The pollution is severely noticeable following the rains that came in non-summer months. Then, only just 57% of state beaches grade out as “good” or “excellent”. Los Angeles County (45%) and Orange County (42%) are doing even worse. Still, Los Angeles County’s marks were a little better than that of Orange County.

Stormwater washes toxins, fertilizers, and other pollutants from roads and landscapes into the sea through rivers, storm drains, and streams. Therefore, beachgoers face a heightened danger of various ENT infections, skin rashes, and gastrointestinal sicknesses. So, health officials recommend swimmers and surfers refrain from going to the sea for 72 hours after such storms.

“The occasional rains last season might have brought more pollutants washed into the sea. This happened because the showers did not come, and pollution had more time to gather. Local monitoring agencies collected less data last season. And this resulted in readings gathered during the first rains to become “a greater piece of the wet weather grade pie,” said Luke Ginger, the lead author of the report card.

Fewer rains will also cause more dry winter months. There was a good or excellent standard at 92% of statewide coasts, 93% in Los Angeles County, and 96% in Orange County.

However, a beach from El Segundo to Long Beach got an “A” or a “B” in the summer months. Meanwhile, Long Beach’s Belmont Pier received a “C”, indicating that there could be health risks for swimmers.

Still, exceptionally long Beach way too much polluted from the rains. 13/15 of Long Beach beaches were graded “F,” and the other two got a “D”. This includes three locations in Alamitos Bay and two in Colorado Lagoon.

Beach Bummers

Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey has made the Heal the Bay’s list of beach bummers. This was the only beach in Los Angeles or Orange Counties making the latest list for 6th time in eight years.

“Regrettably, the features that make this beach a great family destination also make it predisposed to bacteria pollution. This beach is surrounded by Marina del Rey, so there is a little wave action or water circulation. As a result, bacteria pollution doesn’t get flushed away from the coast as it happens at open beaches. Los Angeles County has made many water quality improvement projects in the area. But still, the physical features make it a tough job to reduce high levels of pollution”, says the report card.

Santa Monica Pier is not a beach bummer anymore on the list after 2013 and 2017. In 2018, the city completed many improvements to keep water from entering the ocean closer to the pier. Therefore, this allowed sending the runoff from the beach stormwater outfall pipes into the sewage system.

“The pier escaped the beach bummer designation within the last few years. But it is still actually fighting with the water quality. We think water diversion at the pier is a good start. But the city of Santa Monica has to look out for exceptions to improve water quality. However, the pier scored a “D” during the summer months in the latest report. And an “F” for both wet and dry periods during the off-summer months.” said Heal the Bay’s Ginger.

In the meantime, there’s a countrywide force in Los Angeles to improve the quality of stormwater that enters the ocean. Entitled the Clean Safe Water Program, the measures approximately raise $300 million a year. To fund healthy water projects, including extending efforts to block unfiltered urban waters from entering the Ls Angeles and San Gabriel rivers and other sea-bound waterways and storm drains.

The two beaches of Orange County, San Clemente Pier, and Dana Point’s Poche Beach, withdrew the distinction from the bummer list. Although, Heal the Bay is backing further remediation in those areas and says it’s too early to judge the past efforts.

Honor Roll

In Los Angeles, Malibu received six of the county’s seven Honor Roll beaches that earned excellent grades year-round. In Orange County, Newport Beach was home to seven of the county’s ten beaches with perfect scores. Here are the Honor Roll beaches in those two counties:

• Malibu: Leo Carrillo Beach, Puerco State Beach, Las Flores State Beach, Broad Beach, Escondido State Beach, Nicholas Beach

• San Pedro: Royal Palms State Beach

• Newport Beach: Promontory Point, Orange Street, 52nd / 53rd Street, Balboa Beach Pier, The Wedge, Crystal Cove (two test locations)

• Laguna Beach: 1000 Steps Beach, North Aliso County Beach, Treasure Island Beach

Full report card

Here’s the full report for beaches in LA County.

The three grades are for different conditions: Summer dry, winter dry, and wet weather.

LA County north

LOCATION Summer Dry Grade Winter Dry Grade Wet Weather Grade
Dockweiler State Beach, at Ballona Creek mouth A A F
Dockweiler State Beach, at Culver Blvd A+ A F
Dockweiler State Beach, at Grand Ave. A+ A+ C
Dockweiler State Beach, at Imperial Highway storm, drain A A F
Dockweiler State Beach, at North Westchester storm, drain  A+  A F
Dockweiler State Beach, at World Way A+ A+ F
Hyperion Treatment Plant, at One Mile Outfall A+ A+ A
Malibu Pier, 50 yards east of pier A A D
Malibu Point A A A+
Marina del Rey Mothers’ Beach, at lifeguard tower C F F
Marina del Rey Mothers’ Beach, at playground B F F
Marina del Rey Mothers’ Beach, between Lifeguard Tower and Boat dock A+ A B
Venice Beach, at Rose Ave. A+ A C
Venice Beach, at Topsail St. A+ A+ D
Venice Beach, at Windward Ave. A A+ D
Venice City Beach, at Brooks Ave. drain A+ A D
Will Rogers State Beach, at Pulga Canyon storm drain A+ A+ B
Will Rogers State Beach, at Santa Monica Canyon A A B
Will Rogers State Beach, at Temescal Canyon A A+ D
Will Rogers State Beach, Bel Air Bay Club A A+ A
Zuma Beach, at Zuma Creek A+ A+ A

 

South Bay/Beach Cities

LOCATION Summer Dry Grade Winter Dry Grade Wet Weather Grade
Hermosa Beach Pier, 50 yards south of pier A+ A B
Hermosa City Beach, at 26th Street A+ A C
Herondo Street (Redondo Breakwater) A A F
Manhattan Beach Pier A A A
Manhattan Beach, at 28th Street A A F
Manhattan State Beach, at 40th Street A A A
Palos Verdes Estates, at Malaga Cove rocks A+ A+ A
Palos Verdes Estates, at Malaga Cove trail outlet A A A+
Palos Verdes Estates, at Palos Verdes Cove A A A+
Rancho Palos Verdes, Abalone Cove Shoreline Park A A A+
Rancho Palos Verdes, Long Point A+ A B
Rancho Palos Verdes, Portuguese Bend Cove A+ A A+
Redondo Beach Pier, 100 yards south of pier A B F
Redondo State Beach, at Sapphire Street A B F
Redondo State Beach, at Topaz Street A+ A+ B
Torrance Beach, at Avenue I storm drain A+ A F

Palos Verdes Peninsula 

LOCATION Summer Dry Grade Winter Dry Grade Wet Weather Grade
Palos Verdes Estates, at Malaga Cove, rocks A A A
Palos Verdes Estates, at Malaga Cove trail outlet A A A+
Palos Verdes Estates, at Palos Verdes Cove A A A+
Rancho Palos Verdes, Abalone Cove Shoreline Park A A A+
Rancho Palos Verdes, Long Point A+ A B
Manhattan State Beach, at 40th Street A A A
Rancho Palos Verdes, Portuguese Bend Cove A+ A A+

San Pedro/Long Beach

LOCATION Summer Dry Grade Winter Dry Grade Wet Weather Grade
Alamitos Bay, at 2nd St. Bridge and Bayshore A+ A F
Alamitos Bay, at 56th Place on bayside A+ A+ F
Alamitos Bay, at shore float A A F
Belmont Pier, west side C A F
Cabrillo Beach, harborside at boat launch A A D
Cabrillo Beach, harborside at restrooms B D F
Cabrillo Beach, ocean side A+ A A+
Colorado Lagoon-north A A F
Colorado Lagoon-south B A F
Long Beach City Beach, at 10th Place A A D
Long Beach City Beach, at 55th Place A A F
Long Beach City Beach, at 5th Place B A F
Long Beach City Beach, at 72nd Place A B F
Long Beach City Beach, at Coronado Ave. B A F
Long Beach City Beach, at Granada Ave. B B D
Long Beach City Beach, at Molino Av. B A F
Long Beach City Beach, at Prospect Ave. B C F
Long Beach Mothers’ Beach, north end B B F
Royal Palms State Beach A+ A+ A+