Water quality at Los Angeles County beaches improved significantly over the past year, with nearly 80 percent of beaches receiving high marks in an annual report card released today by the environmental group Heal the Bay.
But despite the improvement, the county's beach-water quality still ranks among the worst in the state, the group announced.
Heal the Bay assigned A through F letter grades to 86 beaches in the county, measuring the level of bacterial pollution in the water between March 2009 and last month. According to the group's 20th annual Beach Report Card, about 79 percent of the county's beaches earned A or B grades, up from 70 percent last year and an average of 73 percent over the past six years.
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The group credited storm-drain enhancements that treated or diverted polluted urban runoff for helping improve water quality. According to Heal the Bay, nearly two dozen runoff-diversion projects helped keep bacteria from reaching the ocean.
Despite the improvement, however, the group noted that the county's water quality still scored well below the statewide average -- with some chronically polluted beaches in Malibu, Santa Monica, Avalon and Long Beach dragging down the county's marks.
Seven beaches in the county received F grades -- an improvement from last year when 15 beaches received the lowest score. But the county still have five of the state's lowest-ranked beaches, with Avalon Beach in Catalina maintaining its rank as the most polluted beach in the state.
Other Los Angeles County beaches that were on the group's "Beach Bummer" list were Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, Santa Monica Municipal Pier, Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach and Sunset Beach in Pacific Palisades.