Summer Report Card Shows 90% of Beaches Earned “A” and “B” Scores

Photo by Ashley Cordes

Beach waters in Long Beach were healthier than ever this summer, according to Heal the Bay’s most recent End of Summer Beach Report Card.

Of the 15 beaches monitored weekly by the Long Beach Health Department, 14 received “A” and “B” grades for the period between Memorial Day through Labor Day, meaning more than 90% of beaches received excellent marks. Last summer, only 77% of Long Beach waters received “A” and “B” grades.  

The one beach that faltered from the positive scores this summer was the testing site at 55th Place, which received a “D” for its exceedance above state water quality standards. Nelson Kerr, Manager of Long Beach’s Bureau of Environmental Health, says that the location received weekly “A+” grades until June 25 when a single bad sample earned it a “D.”

“The source could be as simple as high tide bringing in debris to shore, or birds, sealife, trash or people could have impacted the water quality on that day,” said Kerr. From July 21 until Labor Day, every single beach in Long Beach received an “A+” from Heal the Bay.

Water quality always tends to be better during the dry summer months when pollutants are not washed into the ocean from inland sources, however, Long Beach’s increase in positive grades this summer versus last year can be attributed to several factors. 

In addition to the $8.5 million restoration project that brought the Colorado Lagoon from one of the worst beaches in the state to consistent “A+” grades, the Termino Ave. Storm Drain Project was recently completed, diverting oil, grease and trash from local waters. 

Approximately 12,000 trash-capturing devices have also been installed in regional and inland storm drains, further preventing trash from entering the storm drains and the city also recently received a grant to install water filtration systems at three locations along the coastline, which will only improve future Heal the Bay scores. 

“Overall, Long Beach water quality appears to be trending in the right direction,” Heal the Bay said in its 2013 Annual Beach Report Card in May.

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Sarah Bennett is a contributor to the Hi-lo and the editor-at-large at the Long Beach Post. She is also a professor at Santa Ana College where she was once a student before transferring to USC to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Sarah has written about music, art, food and beer in local, national and international publications for over a decade. An L.A. native and longtime resident of Long Beach, she is the co-founder of Long Beach Zine Fest and managing editor at theLAnd magazine. She never sleeps.
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