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Santa Monica, Redondo Piers Have Dirty Water, Are 'Beach Bummers' Says Report

Santa Monica Pier (Photo by via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Droughts, maybe counter-intuitively, can be great for beaches. At least this is true for the water quality; rain leads to runoff, which means a lot of nasty things get swept into the shores. Likewise, beaches by L.A. have somewhat improved in water quality during the past few months. That's the good news. The bad news is that (some of) our beaches are still pretty gross. Santa Monica Pier, Mother's Beach in Marina Del Rey, and an area that's 100 yards south of the Redondo Pier were all included in Heal the Bay's top-ten list of "Beach Bummers" for 2015-2016. It's a euphemistic way of saying that there's a lot of bacteria and fecal matter in the water. Gross.

These beaches are not new to infamy. Mother's Beach has been on the list for three-years running. And Santa Monica's been listed five times since 2006.

Last year Redondo Pier had a particularly hairy situation when the Hyperion Treatment Plant, a wastewater treatment plant, spewed sewage within a mile of shore. Locals were treated to "hypodermic needles, condoms and tampon applicators," according to the Daily Breeze. Surf's up!

As for Santa Monica Pier, the report says that moisture and a lack of sunshine under the pier have created a prime environment for bacteria. Heal the Bay also found "bird specific bacteria."

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Mother's Beach in Marina Del Rey faces a particular dilemma. Because it's an enclosed waterbody (as opposed to being a beach that directly touches the shore), the water circulation is poor and leads to a higher concentration of bacteria. The beach had attempted to use circulation devices to improve water flow, but the results have been lacking, per the report.

But don't fret. You can still get in the water in L.A. and not emerge as the Toxic Avenger. L.A. boasted five beaches in the report's "Honor Roll." The list included El Matador State Beach, Escondido State Beach, Long Point, Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, and Portuguese Bend Cove. These beaches all received a water quality rating of "A+."

Want to know if your beach got a passing grade? Search it up at the Heal the Bay website.

And if you'd rather not jump into the ocean, there are also public pools to help you cool down for the summer. Check out our report on pool water quality before you jump off that diving board.

Update [4:05 p.m.]:
Leslie Griffin, Heal the Bay's beach water quality scientist, tells LAist that beachgoers don't have to go through great lengths to avoid bad water. The rule of thumb is to simply stay away from piers and storm drains. "If you see one just keep on walking," said Griffin. "Go a hundred yards, or a football field's length, and the water will be better."

She also advises against going to enclosed waterbodies such as Mother's Beach. "The water quality in those places are consistently poor. You can't make a good decision about it," said Griffin.

Heal the Bay's water reports are update every Friday of the week. So check out those grades before you head out.

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