February 27, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Beaches–Aside From Pier–Score High Water Quality Marks

Heal the Bay releases annual water quality report

By Sam Catanzaro

Santa Monica beaches–with the exception of Santa Monica Pier–scored high marks on Heal the Bay’s annual water quality report.

Water quality at Santa Monica beaches aside from Santa Monica Pier scored A’s and A+’s during dry summer and winter days, according to Heal the Bay’s 2020 water quality report for California. In addition, all beaches in the city garnered F grades during wet winter days, with the exception of Will Rogers State Beach at Bel Air Bay Club, which scored a C.

BeachSummer DryWinter DryWinter Wet
Santa Monica Beach at Montana AveAAF
Santa Monica Beach at Pico-Kenter storm drainAAF
Santa Monica Beach at Strand St. A+AF
Santa Monica Beach at Wilshire Blvd.AAF
Santa Monica PierBDF
Will Rogers State Beach at Pulga Canyon storm drainA+AF
Will Rogers State Beach at Santa Monica Canyon AAF
Will Rogers State Beach at Bel Air Bay ClubAAC
Data: healthebay.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Report-2020_web.pdf

The Santa Monica Pier, which scored a B on dry summer days and D on dry winter days, consistently has had some of the dirtiest water in California. Last year, for the first time in six years, the Pier was not ranked a “Beach Bummer”, beaches that received the ten poorest summer dry grades.

According to Health the Bay, while the Pier is no longer a Beach Bummer, it has not seen a significant increase or decrease in water quality over time.

“As part of our retrospective analysis, we also examined how grades at some of the most heavily polluted beaches in California have changed over time. We found that Clam Beach at Strawberry Creek (Humboldt County) and Cowell/Main Beach (Santa Cruz County) have seen a significant decrease in grades over time. Inner Cabrillo Beach, Marina Del Rey Mother’s Beach, and Santa Monica Pier (Los Angeles County) have shown no significant increase or decrease over time. However, we urge local governments to continue investing in water quality improvement projects at these beaches on top of what has already been done,” reads the report.

After the Pier made it off the Beach Bummer list last year, City of Santa Monica City Engineer Rick Valte attributed water quality improvements to efforts including the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF), Pier storm drain reconstruction and bird deterrent installations.

The Pico-Kenter storm drain. Photo: Sam Catanzaro

The only beach in Los Angeles County to be on the Beach Bummer list is Topanga State Beach checking in at No. 5, getting an F summer dry grade, D winter dry grade and F wet grade.

Across Los Angels County, summer dry grades were very good but slightly lower than average with 91 percent of the beaches receiving A and B grades. Wet weather grades were poor with only 42 percent of the beaches receiving A and B grades, which is average for the County. Winter dry grades were good and markedly above average with 92 percent of the beaches receiving A and B grades.

There were 68 sewage spills reported across the County which sent 148,276 gallons of sewage into bodies of water, according to the report.

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