How Clean Were Santa Monica Beaches This Summer?

Heal the Bay's End of Summer Beach Report card doles out grades for Santa Monica's 69 monitoring locations, including at the "chronically polluted" Pier.

The quality of water at Santa Monica beaches continues to show improvement, with 94 percent—or 65 of 69—of monitoring locations earning A or B grades on Heal the Bay's 2012 End of Summer Beach Report Card.

Last summer, 89 percent of the locations notched A's and B's.

"This is the third year in row that the chronically polluted Santa Monica Pier earned a much improved A grade," the nonprofit said Tuesday in a statement.

Santa Monica Stays Off 'Beach Bummers' List

The newest report card showed California experienced once of its cleanest summers. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 96 percent of sampled sites were awarded A or B grades, a 4 percent improvement from the prior year, according to Heal the Bay.

Heal the Bay assigned an A-to-F letter grade to 446 beaches along the California coast, based on bacteria data collected by local health agencies from Humboldt through San Diego counties. The better the grade a location received, the lower the risk of illness to beach-goers, it said.

An annual report card released in May showed most of the beaches in Los Angeles, including Santa Monica, received failing grades during rainy months because stormwater diversion systems can't typically capture all of the polluted runoff that gushes into the ocean.

Even during the summer, however, Avalon Beach and two Los Angeles County sites received poor water quality grades: the Malibu Pier (50 yards east) and inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.

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