10 most polluted beaches in California


While the group says overall water quality has improved, there may be some beaches you'll want to avoid.

/*Heal the Bay*/ announced its annual report card Wednesday for beach pollution. Seventy-nine percent of Los Angeles County sites earned "A" and "B" grades, compared to 70 percent just last year.

"The good news is these bond dollars that people voted for are really starting to pay dividends, and those projects are cleaning up beaches during the summer months when most people go to the beach," said Heal the Bay President Mark Gold.

Five of Los Angeles County beaches top this year's worst beach list, including Will Rogers State Beach at Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway.

"General rule of thumb for folks is there's so many clean beaches out there, why would you put yourself at risk by swimming at an 'F' beach?" said Gold.

Heal the Bay's Top 10 Beach Bummers
  1. Avalon Harbor Beach on Catalina Island (Los Angeles County)
  2. Cowell Beach at the wharf (Santa Cruz County)
  3. Cabrillo Beach harborside (Los Angeles County)
  4. Poche Beach (Orange County)
  5. Santa Monica Municipal Pier (Los Angeles County)
  6. Colorado Lagoon (Los Angeles County)
  7. Baker Beach at Lobos Creek (San Francisco County)
  8. Capitola Beach west of the jetty (Santa Cruz County)
  9. Vacation Isle North Cove Beach in Mission Bay (San Diego County)
  10. Sunset Blvd. and PCH at Santa Ynez drain (Los Angeles County)

Next year we may not know which beaches are unsafe. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut $1 million in state funding to test the water and notify swimmers of potential health hazards.

"Skin rash, sinus infections also can happen as well in polluted water, but the number one concern is stomach flu," said Gold.

"If there's something wrong with the water, I'd like to know," said a Santa Monica beachgoer. "I have definitely gotten sick a few times from here."

Heal the Bay's tips to stay healthy at the beach:

  • After a rain storm wait at least three days before going into the water.
  • Swim at least 100 yards away from a flowing storm drain outlet.
  • Avoid puddles in front of storm drains.
  • Avoid enclosed beaches with poor tidal circulation.

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