Long Beach’s shoreline and most other California beaches had relatively clean water last summer, but excessive rain later in the year raised bacteria levels and hurt water quality at all but two beaches statewide, according to Heal the Bay’s beach report card for 2022-23.
Most of the Long Beach sites that were tested scored well in dry summer weather. Out of 15 beaches, 12 earned A or B grades and two—Alamitos Bay at the shore float and at 56th Place—received an A+; the worst dry weather score was a C for Long Beach City Beach at Prospect Avenue.
But nearly all the city’s swim spots were given F grades in wet winter weather; the exceptions were City Beach at 55th Place (C) and City Beach at 72nd Place, Granada Avenue and Prospect Avenue (all Ds).
Heal the Bay’s testing measures levels of bacteria that indicate fecal contamination, which can pose health risks to people swimming, surfing and playing in the water. The report card, which was released Wednesday, blamed the poor wet weather grades on higher than average rainfall (which can wash bacteria and pollution into the ocean) and the 45 million gallons of sewage spilled statewide.
Overall, Los Angeles County’s beaches saw low bacteria levels in summer (94% earned an A or B), but only 30% were graded A or B in wet weather. Orange County beaches fared better, with 98% earning As or Bs in summer and 63% receiving those grades in the wet months.
Unlike in past years, the only two beaches statewide to land on the “honor roll” were the Point Loma lighthouse in San Diego and Bean Hollow State Beach in the Bay Area; it was the smallest number to make the cut in the 33 years Heal the Bay has given beach report cards.
No Long Beach spots made the list of 10 “beach bummers” (worst scores in dry summer weather), but the Santa Monica Pier and Orange County’s Poche Beach were on the list.
“As climate change continues to bring weather whiplash, our water woes will swing from scarcity to pollution,” Heal the Bay CEO Tracy Quinn said in a news release.
“Now more than ever, we must prioritize multi-benefit projects to manage stormwater as both a water quality and supply solution, all while ensuring that the public is kept informed of risks to public health.”