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Water Near Pier Under Health Advisory

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By Lookout Staff

August 3, 2022 -- The water around the Santa Monica Pier continues to be routinely included in Los Angeles County's health advisory list.

The water 100 yards north and south of the pier -- especially in the area around the Pico-Kenter storm drain -- continues to exceed State standards for bacteria, posing a danger to swimmers, surfers and those playing in the ocean, LA County health officials said.

The health advisories have become commonplace, landing the Pier on Heal the Bay's infamous Beach Bummer list as the fourth most polluted beach in California.

The Pier earned straight Fs on the organization's 2021-22 Beach Report Card, indicating the water has high levels of bacteria all year ("Santa Monica Pier One of California's Most Polluted Beaches," June 22, 2022).

The Pier flunked during summer dry weather (from April to October), winter dry weather (from November to March) and during wet weather year round.

Heal the Bay's grades are based on "concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria measured at ocean beaches" that "indicate the presence of pathogen-containing fecal matter."

The water quality near the pier suffers from its proximity to the Pico Kentor storm drain, which receives runoff that carries bacteria, and from natural factors including bird debris.

The City is "working to replace the existing bird deterrent netting since bird fecal matter is the primary source of pollution in the waters surrounding the Pier," City officials said.

Big Rock Beach in Malibu remains the only other County beach under health advisory.

On Wednesday, County Health officials lifted the advisory for Inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro and Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey.

Like the Pier, Mother's Beach -- which is enclosed by a marina that allows "little wave action or water circulation" -- landed on this year's Bummer list.

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