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Santa Monica Pier No Longer on "Dreaded" Beach Bummer List
By Jorge Casuso
June 27, 2019 -- For the first time in six years, the Santa Monica Pier managed to avoid Heal the Bay's "Beach Bummer" list of California's ten most polluted beaches.
The Pier earned a C grade during both summer and winter dry weather -- instead of the series of Fs that had landed it on the group's "dreaded" list since 2013, according to the non-profit's 29th annual report card.
All other Santa Monica beaches earned at least A grades during dry weather except for the beach at the Pico Kenter storm drain, which earned a C during dry weather both in summer (April to October) and winter (November to March).
Earning As were the beaches at the Wilshire Boulevard drain, the Ocean Park Beach at the Ashland Avenue drain and the beach at Strand Street in front of the restrooms, which earned an A+ during summer dry weather.
All six Santa Monica beaches earned F grades during wet weather year-round.
Heal the Bay's Annual Report card "assigns A-to-F letter grades for 500 California beaches, based on weekly levels of bacterial pollution in the ocean," according to the environmental group.
Overall, California beach water quality "sagged" this past year due to increased rainfall that sweeps bacteria-ridden runoff to the sea through the storm drain system, this year's report found.
The exceptionally wet 2018-2019 winter led to lower than average wet weather grades in 13 of the state's 17 counties, the report found.
During periods of intense, wet weather, the State of California "needs to do a better job of capturing, treating, and reusing runoff so it can be a resource, not a nuisance," Heal the Bay officials said.
Only 54 percent of California beaches received A or B grades during wet weather, an 8 percent drop over the average for the past five years.
Ninty-five percent of Southern California beaches earned A or B grades, which was slightly below average, according to the report.
But five landed on the Beach Bummer list, including the "troubled" Cabrillo Beach (harborside) and Marina del Rey Mother’s Beach in L.A. County, the report found.
Still, of the 33 beaches that made Heal the Bay's honor roll, 28 were in Southern California.
The report also looked into the effects the Woolsey Fire had on Malibu beaches and found that water quality grades "decreased dramatically" after the fire.
"Wildfires increase runoff due to vegetation loss and infrastructure damage," the report found.
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