October 26, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Pier Ranked Dirtiest Beach in L.A. County – Again

By Charles Trepany

Heal the Bay ranked the beach at Santa Monica Pier the dirtiest in Los Angeles County in its annual beach report card released Thursday, June 15.

Measuring the water quality of West Coast beaches based on bacteria levels, the 2016-17 report placed Santa Monica Pier sixth on its “Beach Bummers” list, a record of the 10 worst beaches for dry weather water quality in California. This is the fourth year in a row the Santa Monica Pier has made the list.

Overall, Heal the Bay gave the beach a D for water quality, an improvement from its F grades in the 2015-16 and 2014-15 report cards.

The latest report cites moisture, lack of sunlight and bacteria from birds as causes for the pier’s poor ranking.

“While the score for my hometown’s Santa Monica Pier is disappointing, it highlights the urgent need to improve stormwater capture infrastructure and support local governments in reducing urban runoff pollution,” said California Sen. Ben Allen of the 26th District.

Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card Manager James Amarillo explained that the pier itself makes the site a difficult area to keep clean, as saltwater and storm runoff trapped under the structure builds up harmful bacteria.

“It may be something that just unfortunately comes with having a pier right there, or a man-made structure,” he said. “It’s not like you have an open, exposed beach.”

Dean Kubani, Santa Monica City’s chief sustainability officer, said that on most parts of the beach, ultraviolet radiation from the sun kills bacteria. Under the pier, however, the lack of sunlight plus high tides creates a perfect mix for harmful bacteria to spread.

“Even after a storm where you have runoff that goes into the bay and that brings with it bacteria, usually after a couple of days that goes away in most locations on the coast, but, underneath the pier, that bacteria, because it’s not knocked down by sun, will continue to live in the moist sand,” he said. “Then, when you get a high tide, it’ll bring that stuff back up to the surface, and that’ll continue to give you bad grades on your water test.”

In light of how difficult it is to keep the beach under the pier clean, Amarillo commended the City for its efforts to improve the water quality, such as educating pier visitors not to throw food and waste into the ocean, setting up nets under the pier to keep away pigeons and seagulls, checking the sewers that run underneath the pier for leaks and damage, as well as constructing a facility to recycle polluted water.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said the ranking demonstrates the need for government efforts in beach maintenance.

“There is no more urgent illustration of why we need to make these critical investments in our water management systems,” she said in a statement Thursday, June 15. “Every resident of this county has the right to clean water whether for drinking, bathing or swimming.”

Amarillo still encourages beachgoers to swim at the Santa Monica State Beach – just be sure to stay a safe distance away from the pier.

“What I say to people is still come to the beach, just walk a good football field away from the pier on either side of it, the north or south side, and the water quality should improve greatly, and you should feel very comfortable going in the water any of those spots outside of that football field distance away,” he said.

Kubani added that he urges residents to come out and enjoy areas of the beach away from the pier.

“Don’t let the beach report card keep you from going to the beach,” he said. “Santa Monica is doing everything it can to address any kind of water quality and health issues and have for years, and we will continue to do that, because, ultimately, our goal is the same as Heal the Bay’s goal, and that is to make sure the beach is a safe and healthy place for people to come and enjoy and recreate.”

The pier structure adds to the pollution problem.
Trash cans line the shore near the pier.

Photos: Charles Trepany
in Health
Related Posts

Edify TV: National Women’s Health and Fitness Day!

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

September 30th marks National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, Here are a few fun activities to try out in celebration...

COVID-19 Could Have Been in Area as Early as Last December

September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

UCLA study reports significant increase in coughs and acute respiratory failure prior to first official cases of COVID-19 By Sam...

County Walks Back Trick or Treating Ban

September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

Department of Public Health now says trick or treating not recommended By Sam Catanzaro County health officials have walked back...

Trick nor Treat: LA County Bans Door to Door Trick or Treating

September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

Update: the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has revised its Halloween guidelines. Previously, as reported below, officials planned...

Edify TV: LA County Salons Given Green Light

September 8, 2020

September 8, 2020

Barbershops and hair salons in Los Angeles County have been given the green light to reopen with restrictions in place...

UCLA Searching for COVID-19 Vaccine Volunteers

September 8, 2020

September 8, 2020

Editor’s note: this AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 trial is on temporary hold while the company looks into whether a patient involved in...

Ahead of Labor Day County Warns COVID-19 Progress Could Be Hampered

September 1, 2020

September 1, 2020

Seven-day positivity rate currently below 5 percent By Sam Catanzaro Despite optimism regarding COVID-19 transmission rates, ahead of Labor Day...

New Santa Monica Senior Affordable Housing

September 1, 2020

September 1, 2020

Greenway Meadows development nears completion A new development near completion in Santa Monica will provide 38 apartments to low-income seniors...

Montalvo on Montana’s ‘Boos Boos LA’ Cotton Masks

September 1, 2020

September 1, 2020

By Staff Writer In light of the growing need for personal protection equipment, a local company is getting creative with...

County Can ‘Think About’ Reopening Schools, Businesses if Transmission Rates Hold

August 25, 2020

August 25, 2020

Community spread still needs to decrease, officials say By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County’s head of public health noted at...

My Dog Day of Summer

August 24, 2020

August 24, 2020

I usually don’t sweat the news about temperatures.  I live on the Westside, close to the Pacific Ocean, and it...

Column: How to Play it Safe to Prevent Deadly Heat Exhaustion

August 24, 2020

August 24, 2020

By Shawn McCann  As the Southland region broils in a summer heatwave, the coronavirus pandemic has created additional concern for...

Conscious Human Medicine Helping Santa Monica Residents Reverse Chronic Disease and Boost Health

August 20, 2020

August 20, 2020

By Staff Writer When co-founders Dr. Mahboubeh Hashemi and Dr. Matthew Cavaiola started their practice, Conscious Human Medicine, they had...

LAUSD Announces Plans to Test and Contact Trace All Students and Staff

August 18, 2020

August 18, 2020

By Chad Winthrop The nation’s second-largest public school system will provide COVID-19 tests and contact tracing for all Los Angeles...

County Surpasses Somber Milestone of 5,000 COVID-19 Deaths

August 11, 2020

August 11, 2020

Hospitalizations continue to decline By Sam Catanzaro L.A. County reached a somber milestone Tuesday of over 5,000 COVID- 19 deaths....