The Santa Monica Pier Beach continues to be one of the most polluted in the state according to the annual Beach report card released yesterday by Heal the Bay.
The Pier has received a failing grade for the past six years due to a variety of systemic issues but officials said there’s hope for improvement in the near future.
Heal the Bay’s president, Shelley Luce, said the local spot was the seventh worst in the state this year.
“The seventh most polluted beach in the state is right here at the Santa Monica Pier, the humid conditions under the pier, the many flocks of birds that like to hang out here and storm drain runoff from the land are likely culprits in the high bacteria levels at the pier,” she said.
Luce said stormwater runoff is a significant problem statewide but credited the City for working on the problem and said construction of a new runoff storage tank could help prevent pollution from reaching the beach.
“It will hold water even during rainstorms and prevent it from flowing into the ocean here and we expect that will make a huge difference in cleaning up the water quality,” she said.
The storage tank will divert about 1.6 million gallons of water to the city’s urban runoff recycling facility. The water will be cleaned and used for non-drinking purposes such as irrigation. City officials said the work will be finished this fall.
In good news for local beaches, Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey surged in quality this year and after receiving three F’s and a D in past year, the popular beach scored an A this year.
“We’re very happy there have been improvements there and that’s largely due to the work of LA County,” said Luce.
Heal The Bay tracked 94 beaches in Los Angeles County based on weekly bacterial pollution levels. For the high-traffic summer months, 97 percent of county beaches scored an A or B, a six percent increase from the five-year average. The relatively dry year actually helped beach health as a lack of rain means a less runoff on the beaches.
Luce said beachgoers should generally avoid shallow, enclosed beaches with poor circulation and swim at least 100 yards away from storm drains, creeks or piers. In addition, she said locals can use the newly redesigned beachreportcard.org website and the improved NowCast water quality tool that uses years of environmental data to predict water quality in real time.
“This summer, we’re excited to expand our program to up to 20 beaches. Predictions will also be available earlier in the morning, so surfers and early risers can benefit from the NowCast system too,” said a statement from Heal The Bay.
According to Heal the Bay, all county health departments in California are required to test beach water at least once a week during the summer season and many track pollution year round. Heal the Bay uses that data to compile their grades.
Luce said the report is part of the organization’s mission to preserve and educate.
“Health the Bay’s annual beach report card is guided by two important principles,” she said. “No one should get sick from a day at the beach and we have the right to know if our favorite beaches are too polluted to use.”
Local beaches that made the Honor Roll this year include: El Matador State Beach (Malibu), Escondido State Beach (Malibu), Dan Blocker County Beach (Malibu), Las Tunas County Beach (Malibu), El Segundo Beach @ Grand Ave. (El Segundo), Bluff Cove (Palos Verdes Est.), Abalone Cove Shoreline Park (R. Palos Verdes) and Portuguese Bend Cove (R. Palos Verdes).
Visit https://healthebay.org for more information.