Swimmers and surfers in Southern California enjoyed cleaner beach water this year, likely due to one of the driest winters on record in the region, according to Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay’s 2012-13 study released Wednesday.
The advocacy group’s report card graded Golden State beach water quality during the summer dry weather period (April 2012 – October 2012), and during the winter dry weather (November 2012 – March 2013).
Heal the Bay is officially unveiled it's latest report card Thursday, about two weeks after the Environmental Protection Agency proposed cutting federal funding for this kind of water testing.
Beach water quality in LA County bested its own five-year average by 24 percent, to receive 57 percent A or B grades. The report notes this is likely due to the fact that this past winter was one of Southern California’s driest on record, meaning less dirty runoff water made its way to the ocean.
But despite the improvement, LA County is still home to four of the 10 dirtiest beaches in the Golden State. Among those “beach bummers” is Avalon in Catalina Island, which has held the unsavory position at No. 1 for four of the past five years.
Orange County also bested its five-year average by 15 percent. The county’s beaches received 73 percent A or B grades during wet weather, up 4 percentage points from last year.
And receiving 100 percent A grades for both dry and wet weather, Ventura County claimed the coveted spot of having the most pristine beach water in SoCal.
The top 10 “Beach Bummers,” these coastal spots received F grades:
Receiving A grades, these beaches made the water-quality honor roll: