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By Jorge Casuso

July 1, 2021 -- Almost every stretch of Santa Monica Beach should have excellent water quality for swimming during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, according to Heal the Bay's 2020-21 Beach Report Card.

Released this week, the group's 31st annual report card gave
four Santa Monica beaches A grades during dry summer weather, while the area around the Pier earned a D, barely avoiding the infamous Beach Bummers list.

Santa Monica Beach at Montana Avenue, at the Pico-Kenter storm drain and at Wilshire Boulevard earned A grades during summer dry weather, while the beach at Strand Street earned an A+.

The four beaches also received A grades during winter dry weather, with the beach at Montana Avenue earning an A+, although the Pier area flunked with an F.

Every Santa Monica Beach earned an F grade during wet weather except for Strand Street, which was given a C.

Except for the Pier, Santa Monica's grades were above par for beaches in the state during dry weather, but far below par during wet weather.

Jones of the Bay

Summer dry grades, given from April to October 2020, "were excellent across the State this year but lower than average with 93 percent of California beaches receiving A and B grades," according to the report.

Winter Dry Grades, given from November 2020 to March 2021, "were slightly better than average with 92 percent of the beaches receiving A and B grades," the report said.

Meanwhile, Wet Weather Grades -- given when rain flushes contaminants and pollution, including bacteria, from streets directly into the ocean -- were a little below average for the past year, with 57 percent of the beaches receiving A and B grades.

Wet Weather Grades consist of samples taken during or three days following a rain event greater than 0.10 inches, according to the report.

"This untreated stormwater decreases water quality by increasing the amount of pathogens in the ocean to potentially unsafe levels," the report said.

Beachgoers who visit beaches during or after a rain event have an increased risk of contracting ear infections, eye infections, upper respiratory infections, skin rashes, and gastrointestinal illnesses, according to several studies.

Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay advises swimmers to stay out of the water for a minimum of three days following a significant rain event.

In 220-21, rainfall across California's coastal counties in California was 41 percent lower than the historical average, according to the report.

Below average rainfall usually results in improved Wet Weather Grades, although that was not the case this year, the report said.

Since 2010-11, the area around the pier has landed six times on the Beach bummer's list composed of the beaches that received the ten poorest Summer Dry Grades.

Marina del Rey Mothers' Beach, between Lifeguard Tower and Boat dock, was the only LA County Beach to make the infamous list this year.

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