in Pacific Palisades scored well in the annual beach report card released by Heal the Bay Thursday.
According to the report, two locations at Will Rogers were examined: the Pulga Canyon storm drain and the Temescal storm drain. When the weather was dry during both summer and winter months, Will Rogers State Beach at the Pulga Canyon storm drain scored an "A." However, during wet weather, it brought in a "B." At the Temescal storm drain, the beach also scored an "A" during the summer and winter months when the weather was dry. But, the beach brought home an "F" during wet weather.
Heal the Bay released the report card at a press conference Thursday along the Pali stretch of beach near the Temescal Canyon Park Stormwater Best Management Practices Project (BMP) construction site. The $8 million project is an effort to stop stormwater from running into Will Rogers State Beach and reduce beach pollution by diverting water from an existing storm drain under Temescal Canyon Road to new facilities in and near .
While releasing the beach grades, Heal the Bay noted that bacteria levels at Los Angeles County coastal waters were dropping in the summer months. In addition, the report card showed 82 percent of L.A. beaches were earning A or B grades, a seven percent improvement over last year, but still well below the statewide average of 92 percent.
“That’s good news for L.A. beach-goers at a majority of beach locations,” said Water Quality Director Kirsten James.
Heal the Bay attributed the improvement to ongoing infrastructure improvements, mainly stormwater diversion systems that keep bacteria-laden runoff from washing into the ocean.
The report grades more than 650 locations from San Diego County to Whatcom County, WA, in the summer dry weather and more than 300 locations year-round on an A-to-F scale. Beaches that earn As and Bs pose less of a health risk to swimmers, who can get sick with the stomach flu, ear infections and skin rashes when water quality is poor.
“No beach should make you sick,” James said.
All county health departments are required to test beach water quality samples for three types of indicator bacteria at least once a week during the summer season. Heal the Bay compiles the data, analyzes it and assigns the letter grades.
Heal the Bay said one of the reasons Los Angeles County beaches score lower than their neighbors in Orange and Ventura, is because their monitoring agencies collect samples directly in front of storm drains and creeks that channel runoff into the ocean. Orange and Ventura counties monitor 25 yards or more away from those sources.
A handful of significantly polluted beaches helped drag down the L.A. county’s overall grades, most notably in Malibu. The city claimed four of the 10 spots on the Heal the Bay’s Beach Bummer list, a ranking of the 10 most polluted beaches in the state: Puerco Beach, Dan Blocker, Surfrider and Escondido. Other county sites on the "Beach Bummers" list are Topanga State Beach and the harbor side of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.
Will Rogers Beach had made the Beach Bummers list in 2010.
In total, 11 beaches in Los Angeles County received F grades during the summer, up from last year’s nine.