Wednesday, May 27, 2009

OC Beaches: Report Card

Heal the Bay, a "nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and clean" has released its 19th Annual Beach Report Card, and the grades look very promising.

Per the website, the report card provides water quality information to the millions of people who swim, surf, or dive in California coastal waters, and grades over 500 locations for summer dry weather (324 locations year-round) on an A-to-F scale based on the risk of adverse health effect to beach goers.

The South Orange County Wastewater Authority, the County of Orange Environmental Health Division, and the Orange County Sanitation District each compiled samples from separate beaches, and found that 94% of locations that were monitored received an A or B rating for year-round dry weather conditions. Seven Orange County locations received fair to poor grades, all them being near Doheny Beach and Poche Beach in San Clemente, however, per the report, a small dry weather filtration/UV disinfection system at the outlet of Poche Creek has been installed, and is expected to tremendously improve the water quality within the next coming year.

Poor water quality not only threatens the health of swimmers and beach goers but also hurts California's ocean-dependent economy valued at $43 billion. Each year between 150 million and nearly 400 million visits are made to California beaches (Source). Making sure to pick up any trash after visits, and being diligent about properly disposing of liquid waste or hazardous materials that can end up in the ocean is not a luxury, it's a necessity.

To find out what you can do you in your area, visit

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