Beach Report Card – for Los Angeles, San Diego, & Orange County (2012)

San Diego County

San Diego continued to exhibit excellent beach water quality, with 93% of all monitoring locations receiving an A grade during summer dry weather.

Winter dry weather water quality was also excellent with 93% A grades. During wet weather 77% of locations received an A or B grade, besting both the five-year average for San Diego (68%) and this year’s statewide average (64%).


Orange County

Water quality in Orange County was excellent this year with 94% A or B grades (89% were A grades). Beach water quality during the winter dry weather was also very good with 87% A or B grades. Wet weather grades were fair (69% A or B grades) and bested the five-year average by 15%. Two Orange County beaches appear on the dreaded Beach Bummer list: Doheny State Beach at San Juan Creek outlet and Poche Beach.


Los Angeles County

Summer dry weather water quality in Los Angeles improved 7% from last year with 82% A or B grades. Winter dry water quality was nearly the same as summer dry water quality with 81% A or B grades (besting the five-year average by 13%). Wet weather water quality in Los Angeles continues to be poor overall with 49% of monitoring locations receiving F grades this year (27% worse than the state average).

Los Angeles County was also host to seven out of the 10 beaches on the statewide Beach Bummer list this year: Topanga State Beach at the creek mouth (No. 10), Escondido State Beach at Escondido Creek (No. 9), Cabrillo Beach harborside (No. 6), Dan Blocker County Beach at Solstice Creek (No. 5), Surfrider Beach at the Malibu Lagoon outlet (No. 4), Puerco Beach at the Marie Canyon storm drain (No. 3) and Avalon Harbor Beach on Catalina Island (No. 1).



California’s overall water quality during the summer dry time period this past year was very good and right on par with the five-year average (Figure 1-1). There were 34 monitoring locations (8%) that received fair to poor water quality marks (C-F grades) during the same time period.

During winter dry weather, most California beaches had very good water quality with 276 of 314 (88%) locations receiving A or B grades. Lower grades during the same time period include: 12 Cs (4%), 9 Ds (3%) and 17 Fs (5%). Southern California dry weather grades (87% A and B grades) were also in line with the statewide average. Los Angeles County again exhibited some of the lowest grades in the state (81% A and B grades).

During wet weather, 36% of California’s monitoring locations received fair-to-poor grades with 22% earning F grades (Figure 1-1). This marked seasonal difference in water quality is why Heal the Bay and California’s public health agencies continue to recommend that no one swim in recreational waters during, and for at least three days after a significant rainstorm.

With the exception of educational programs, there have been no major efforts made by public agencies along the coast to target reductions in fecal bacteria densities in storm water.


All data pulled from2011-2012 Annual Beach Report Card (pdf)

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