California beachgoers can head to the shore with little anxiety this summer, as their beaches are generally very clean, according to Heal the Bay’s 2012 Beach Report Card®. In fact, 407 of the 441 beaches monitored throughout California’s summer dry weather received very good to excellent (A and B) grades; a 2% improvement from the previous report.
This is the 22nd time Heal the Bay has released an annual Beach Report Card, which provides water quality information to millions of people who swim, surf, dive or fish along the West Coast, including Oregon and Washington.
This year’s grades encompass more than 650 locations along the West Coast for summer dry weather and more than 300 locations year-round on an A-to-F scale. The grades represent the risk of adverse health effects from bacterial pollution.
Overall, only 25 of the beaches (6%) monitored statewide received D or F grades during summer dry weather, when most beachgoers typically use the ocean. High bacteria counts at these sites are linked to such potential illnesses as stomach flu, ear infections and major skin rashes.
Los Angeles County once again leads Heal the Bay’s annual Beach Bummer List, with seven locations in the ranking of the state’s 10 most polluted beaches. Avalon Beach on Southern California’s Catalina Island, troubled by outdated and leaking sewers, claimed the No. 1 spot.
On the positive side, San Diego, Orange and Ventura counties once again had superb water quality in dry summer. Central and Northern California ocean beaches also continued their trend of outstanding water quality in dry weather, save for some troubled spots in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.