Excellent water quality reported at beaches


All but one of San Diego County’s 79 monitored beaches had excellent water quality during the summer months, according to a report released Wednesday by the environmental group Heal the Bay.

According to Heal the Bay’s 2009 “End of Summer Beach Report Card,” 78

of the 79 beaches in San Diego County monitored between Memorial Day and Labor Day received an A or B grade for water quality.

The only dark spot this summer was Pacific Beach Point, which received an F grade, according to Heal the Bay.

Heal the Bay attributed a five-year trend of improved beach water quality to local efforts to divert storm drain runoff into sewage treatment systems during the busy summer months.

There were two known sewage spills in San Diego County that led to beach closures this summer, one at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach and the other at the Oceanside Pier, according to Heal the Bay.

Statewide, beachgoers in California experienced a third consecutive summer of excellent water quality, according to Heal the Bay.

The group assigned an A to F letter grade to 458 beaches along the California coast, based on the levels of bacterial pollution reported from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

This summer, 92 percent of the sites monitored statewide received A or B grades during the summer season, a slight improvement from last year when 91 percent of beaches received top marks.

Heal the Bay said persistent and ongoing low rainfall throughout California, which limited polluted urban runoff, played a major role in the better water quality.

“Record low rainfall has helped maintain great water quality at the

vast majority of California’s beaches for the third summer in a row,” said Mark Gold, president of Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay.

“But we can’t become complacent in our efforts to improve water quality in the summer season,” he said. “We need long-term funding for beach monitoring and to ensure that problem beaches are safe for swimming every summer.”

Los Angeles County once again had the lowest summer grades in the state, with only 80 percent of its 81 monitored beaches receiving A or B marks, according to Heal the Bay. There were 10 beaches in Los Angeles County that earned F grades during the summer months, a slight improvement from last year.

According to Heal the Bay, Orange County had excellent water quality with 102 out of 103 monitored beaches registering an A or B grade.