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Health Advisory Remains in Place for Waters Near Pier

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

September 2, 2021 -- As Labor Day weekend approaches, County Health officials maintained a health advisory Wednesday for the waters around the Santa Monica Pier.

Bacteria levels in the water continue to pose a danger to swimmers, surfers and those playing in the ocean, health officials said.

The advisory covers the water 100 yards north and south of the pier -- especially the area around the Pico-Kenter storm drain.

Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey is the only other LA County beach on the advisory list after health officials removed Topanga Canyon Beach in Malibu.

Health officials have said the high levels of bacteria are “very likely” the result of day-to-day fluctuations, with “no reason to suspect” the catastrophic spill at the Hyperion Plant last month is responsible.

The health advisory for the pier has been imposed and suspended several times since the accident at the plant sent 17 million gallons of raw sewage into Santa Monica Bay on July 11 and 12.

The water around the pier has traditionally registered high levels of bacteria year-round, landing it numerous times on Heal the Bay's notorious Beach Bummers list over the past two decades.

This year the environmental group gave it a D grade during dry summer weather, which covers the period from April to October 2020, and F grades during winter wet and dry weather, which covers the period from November through March 2021.

Water quality near the pier -- which suffers from natural factors including bird debris -- is expected to improve with the construction of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP), a stormwater harvesting tank.

The $96 million project includes a below grade stormwater and sewer treatment facility at the Civic Center Lot with a capacity for 1 million gallons per day and two new stormwater harvesting tanks at Memorial Park and the Civic Center Lot, with 1.5 million gallon capacity.

The project "will improve local beach water quality by diverting stormwater away for treatment and beneficial reuse," City officials said.

In February, the project received $8.77 million through the State Water Resources Control Board’s Proposition 1 Storm Water Grant Program.

Another $7.5 million was secured through the County of Los Angeles’ Measure W Safe Clean Water Program that "supports projects that capture, clean, and conserve stormwater." officials said.

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