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Dry weather has kept Southern California's beaches clean

Heal the Bay's summer report card shows a remarkable lack of bacteria.

September 27, 2007|By James Ricci | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

California's record-breaking dry weather this year has had at least one salutary effect: Water at the state's beaches this summer has been remarkably free of bacteria.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, 92% of the state's 494 beaches earned grades of A or B on Heal the Bay's annual summer report card, which was released today. The high grades were nearly 10% better than those on the organization's report card last year.

Heal the Bay officials attributed the improvement primarily to a lack of rain-induced urban runoff, a major source of beach-water fouling.

Los Angeles County again recorded the worst grades for ocean quality, with 17% of its beaches receiving Fs. On the bright side, beaches on beleaguered Santa Monica Bay fared well, even beating the state average.

Water at 93% of the bay's 67 beaches received an A or B, a dramatic increase from last year's 75%. But the beach at the Santa Monica Pier was the bay's worst, and the second-worst in the state.

Water at Long Beach and at Avalon on Catalina Island also showed "extremely poor" quality, the report says.

Beaches in Southern California counties scored exceedingly well. Ventura County led the pack. All but one of that county's 54 beaches received an A, and the other a B. Farther south, 94.2% of Orange County beaches received good grades, as did 99% of San Diego County beaches.

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