LA County has 7 of the 10 most polluted beaches in California, Long Beach worst
California Beach Quality Report
Heal the Bay released its 2006-2007 Annual California Beach Report Card on May 23, 2007, assigning an "A" to "F" letter grade to more than 500 beaches throughout the state based on their levels of bacterial pollution.
Heal the Bay's Annual Beach Report Card is a comprehensive evaluation of California coastal water quality based on daily and weekly samples gathered at beaches from Humboldt County to the Mexican border. A poor grade means beachgoers face a higher risk of contracting illnesses such as stomach flu, ear infections, upper respiratory infections and skin rashes than swimmers at cleaner beaches.
Heal the Bay believes the public has the right to water quality information to help make informed decisions about where to safely swim, surf and enjoy the ocean water. The Beach Report Card is a public service, helping everyone understand which beaches they can visit without fear of getting sick.
Statewide Water Quality Above Average
Statewide, water quality this season has been above average due in large part to the record-low rainfall recorded in much of California.From San Luis Obispo County north to Humboldt County, over 90% of the northern California beaches earned an "A" grade. Most beaches in the state continue to have safe levels of bacteria during the summer months, especially open ocean beaches.
However, for the second straight year, Los Angeles County had the worst overall beach water quality in the state, including seven of the ten lowest-rated beaches (otherwise know as "Beach Bummers" - see sidebar at right) in the survey.
Long Beach Suffers Dramatic Drop in Water Quality
In Los Angeles County, the Long Beach area suffered a dramatic drop in water quality during the last year. Long Beach saw 24 of 28 reporting locations register a "C," "D" or "F," a dramatic change for a city that has a history of good water quality. As a result, the city of Long Beach has the dubious distinction of being ranked as the #1 "Beach Bummer" in this year's report (see sidebar at right).
Long Beach has traditionally fared well in the Beach Report Card despite the fact its beaches are completely enclosed by a breakwater. Typically, beaches located inside a breakwall are more prone to poor water quality than open ocean beaches, but this has not been an issue for Long Beach except at Colorado Lagoon.
Heal the Bay plans to work quickly with officials in Long Beach to get to the bottom of the dramatic change in their water quality, and begin making recommendations for improvements immediately.