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Water Near Pier Remains Under Health Advisory as Temperatures Soar

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By Jorge Casuso

August 30, 2022 -- Beachgoers flocking to Santa Monica on Labor Day weekend to escape a record-breaking heat wave should avoid cooling off in the water near the Santa Monica Pier.

Excessive Heat Warnings in Los Angeles -- where temperatures are expected to top 100 degrees by Wednesday -- are accompanied by an LA County health advisory.

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, LA County health officials said Tuesday.

The high bacterial levels can pose a danger to swimmers, surfers and those playing in the ocean and can cause a varierty of illnesses, County health officials said.

These can include gastroenteritis from swallowing polluted water, as well as ear, eye, throat and skin infections.

The throngs of beachgoers drawn to the County's most crowded beach, along with debris from birds, contribute to increased levels of bacteria, health officials said.

The combination has resulted in consistently poor grades for the pier when Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay issues its annual Beach Report Card.

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."

Conditions are expected to improve with the construction of the $96 million Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP), a stormwater harvesting tank that will divert stormwater away "for treatment and beneficial reuse," City officials said.

In addition to the Pier, three other County beaches were under health advisory Tuesday -- Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey, Inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro and Topanga Canyon Beach in Malibu.

For information on the latest beach conditions call LA County's beach closure hotline at 1-800-525-5662 to get recorded information or visit their website.

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