San Diego’s summer beach quality was excellent, group reports

By City News Service

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

Of the 77 beaches in San Diego County monitored between Memorial Day and Labor Day, all received an A or B grade for water quality, according to Heal the Bay’s 2010 “End of Summer Beach Report Card.”

Pacific Beach Point, which received an F grade in last summer’s report, received an A+ this summer for not having any instances of exceeding state standards for bacteria, according to the report.

Heal the Bay said the improvement at Pacific Beach Point may be due to moving the monitoring location farther away from kelp and wildlife that tends to congregate in the area.

There were three known sewage spills in San Diego County that led to beach closures this summer at Imperial Beach, the mouth of the San Diego River and in Fallbrook Creek.

According to Heal the Bay, California beachgoers experienced a fourth consecutive summer of excellent water quality, with 92 percent of the 453 beaches monitored statewide receiving an A or B grade.

“We continue to see water quality improvements at California beaches,” said Mark Gold, president of Heal the Bay. “However, without a sustainable source of beach monitoring funding, the public health of millions of ocean users will be jeopardized.”

Heal the Bay cautioned that state funding for routine water quality testing along California beaches may be eliminated in January due to the

statewide budget crisis.

Heal the Bay’s “Beach Report Card” is based on the routine monitoring of beaches by local health agencies and those that discharge waste into the ocean.

Water samples are analyzed for bacteria that indicate pollution. Heal the Bay analyzes the data and assigns a letter grade to each beach.