Beach report bummer

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Heal the Bay’s summer beach report card is based on the amount of bacteria found at 450 monitoring points along the California coast, from Memorial Day through Sept. 30. More than half of Los Angeles County’s 82 testing sites received A’s this summer. But some 16 beaches earned grades of D or F, including some – such as Paradise Cove in Malibu – that historically had received A’s. Joanne Forster, Heal the Bay’s communications director, regularly surfs at Ocean Park, near Santa Monica, which is usually rated an A for water quality. One day this summer, the water was foamy and looked dirty, but she went in anyway because the waves were so good. “I got home an hour later and was nauseous and throwing up all day. I called some of my surfing buddies and they were all sick, too,” she said. Millions of residents and tourists swim in Santa Monica Bay every summer, and polluted water increases the risk of developing stomach flu, pink eye and ear infections. Officials couldn’t say why some beaches were so much worse than past years, although near-record rainfall certainly played a role. Urban runoff is the primary beach polluter, carrying animal waste, fertilizer, oils and chemicals from inland through the storm drains out to the bay. And the heavy rains saturated the ground so urban runoff continued to flow into storm drains longer than in a dry year. But Ventura and Orange counties also broke rainfall records this year, yet still received A’s at 98 percent and 89 percent, respectively, of their monitoring locations. In Los Angeles County, however, each beach has its own set of problems that have to be rectified, whether it’s a leaking sewer system or septic tank, polluted urban runoff or droppings from sea gull colonies. Standing on Will Rogers Beach, which received a failing grade, Gold pointed to a small creek flowing from the Pacific Palisades into the bay. Last year, the city of Los Angeles unveiled a $1.2 million diversion system to clean up the beach by blocking dirty runoff and pumping it to the sewer system for treatment. However, the diversion proved too small to handle increased runoff after the rainy season, so tainted water continues to flow into the bay. The city is now expanding the diversion. It’s a problem repeated in other beach cleanup projects that were often funded with state grant money, Gold said. “There was a rush to put these in and maybe the engineering wasn’t as strong as it should have been.” With new beach water-quality regulations looming, Los Angeles County and its cities have spent nearly $20 million to control urban runoff and meet the new bacteria regulations. The county’s Department of Public Works hopes to install diversion systems – at a cost of roughly $500,000 each – on its storm drains by January, and officials are investigating canyons in Malibu that drain water laden with bacteria. Los Angeles Stormwater Program Manager Shahram Kharaghani said he believes that the city will have all of its projects in place to meet the new regulations. “I am confident the plan we have will work. Every drop of the runoff being regulated is diverted.” Kerry Cavanaugh, (818) 713-3746 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Swimmers and surfers at many Los Angeles beaches were exposed this summer to the worst water quality in five years, and a heavy rainy season was partly to blame, an environmental group said Wednesday. That’s troubling news for Los Angeles County and its coastal cities, which face tough new rules starting in August that will require good water quality at beaches between the Ventura County line and Palos Verdes Peninsula every single day during the dry season. “Los Angeles County did very poorly in comparison to the rest of the state,” said Mark Gold, executive director of nonprofit Heal the Bay, which released its annual report card on beach conditions. “If they don’t solve this problem in nine months, all these beaches that had C, D, and Fs will be susceptible to enforcement.” last_img read more

December 25, 2019 0