OC Beaches Again Score Well on Heal the Bay Report Card (with Usual Bummer Suspects)

Categories: Environment

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Orange County beaches once again scored well on Heal the Bay's annual survey, with 95 of 102 testing spots being given an A or B during the summer. By the way, our county leads the state in number of testing spots.

But it's not all sunshine and clean waves as two perennial dirty South County beaches made Heal the Bay's Top 10 Beach Bummers.

Those are, of course, Poche Beach in San Clemente and Doheny in Dana Point. Here is where they fall in the Top 10, which could just as rightly be called the Bottom 10 (No. 1 being the dirtiest):

1) Avalon Harbor, Catalina
2) Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz County
3) Poche Beach, San Clemente
4) Cabrillo Beach, LA harborside
5) Malibu Pier
6) Marina Lagoon in San Mateo County
7) Doheny State Beach, Dana Point
8) Redondo Beach Pier
9) Windsurfer Circle at Candlestick Park in San Francisco
10) Tijuana River mouth in San Diego County

Tijuana River mouth? I'm surprised that toxic soup contains enough water to test.

Heal the Bay reports overall water quality at Los Angeles County beaches showed definite improvement and, statewide, only 3 percent of testing sites across California earned grades of D or F on the 2013 Beach Report Card.

The nonprofit collects data on testing for bacteria and other pollutants at 445 beaches statewide. In summer 2012, 93 percent earned grades of A or B, which is 1 percent better than the previous year.

"We are heartened by numerous individual beach success stories, but extremely dry weather is likely masking the severity of stormwater pollution,'' Kirsten James, Heal the Bay's science and policy director, says via City News Service.

Storms, of course, flush pollutants collected in drainage channels out to the ocean. Sewage spills also pollute oceans.

Heal the Bay also credited infrastructure improvements, including those that divert ocean-bound storm water to sewage treatment plants during dry periods, with having led to slightly improved beach water quality. But the lack of rainfall was the No. 1, activists say.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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