Water quality at Los Angeles County beaches continued to show improvement in the summer months and remained high at beaches statewide, according to a recently released report.
In Santa Monica-based environmental non-profit Heal the Bay’s annual End of Summer Beach Report Card, 96 percent of sampled sites received A or B grades, a four percent improvement from last year. Heal the Bay assigned an A-to-F letter grade to 446 beaches along the California coast from Humboldt through San Diego counties. The better the grade a location received, the lower the risk of illness to beach users.
Heal the Bay officials touted the 2012 results as one of the cleanest summers for beach water quality ever recorded in the state.
According to the report, Los Angeles County beach water quality rose by two percent, with 77 sites earning A or B grades. But some county sites received poor water quality grades, including Avalon on Catalina Island, the Malibu Pier and inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.
Overall, Santa Monica Bay beaches continued to improve, with 65 of 69 monitoring locations receiving A or B grades, compared with 89 percent last year. The Santa Monica Pier, which showed low water quality in years past, received an A grade for the third year in a row.
While beaches across the state continue to make strides in water quality, Heal the Bay officials believe two recent proposals from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may have a devastating effect on beach water quality programs in 2013. The agency is proposing new acceptable bacteria levels in recreational waters that in some ways are less protective than the 25-year-old criteria they would replace, Heal the Bay officials believe.