90% of LB Beaches Score High Grades in Heal the Bay Summer Report

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Long Beach Water Quality Continues Steady Improvement; 90% of Beaches Receive “A” and “B” Grades in Heal the Bay Summer Report

The City of Long Beach is continued its trend of steadily improved recreational water quality, with 90 percent of beaches receiving excellent marks in the Heal the Bay 2013 End of Summer Beach Report Card.

“Overall, our local water quality is steadily improving over the past few years,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “I’m proud of our progress and I know that we will continue with our many efforts to clean up our beaches.”

Several factors are contributing to improved water quality in Long Beach, including infrastructure improvements, grant funding, regional partnerships and technology.

From Memorial Day through August 21, 2013, City beaches received 12 “A” grades, two “B” grades and one “D.” For the last 30 days of the reporting period, every single beach in Long Beach received an “A+” from Heal the Bay.

The beach at 55th Place received weekly A+ grades from Memorial Day until June 25, when testing from a single sample showed an exceedance above state water quality standards. “The source could be as simple as high tide bringing in debris to shore, or birds, sealife, trash or people could have impacted the water quality on that day,” said Nelson Kerr, Manager, Bureau of Environmental Health.

Subsequent testing demonstrated that the location was cleared up the next day, and no other exceedences at that location were recorded in the summer.

Last summer, city beaches received nine “As,” four “Bs” and two “Cs.”

Recreational water quality in Long Beach has improved steadily in recent years; 10 of the 13 beaches sampled received “A” or “B” grades by Heal the Bay in its 2013 Annual Beach Report Card. And the Colorado Lagoon, after completion of an $8.5 million restoration project last summer, received “A+” grades every month since the project was finished in August 2012.

Here are some additional examples of how water quality is improving in Long Beach:

Long Beach and 15 upriver cities have installed approximately 12,000 trash-capturing devices in regional storm drains that flow to the Los Angeles River and then the Long Beach coastline. This prevents hundreds of tons of trash from entering the storm drains with urban runoff.

The recently completed Los Angeles County Termino Avenue Storm Drain Project includes multiple water quality protection attributes:

  • Oil and grease absorbent sponges;
  • Retractable catch basin screens to keep trash from entering the storm drain system; and
  • A low-flow diversion system, which routes dry weather urban runoff away from the storm drain system or waterways, and redirect it into the sanitary sewer system, where the contaminated runoff is treated and filters before being discharged into the ocean.

Recently completed improvements at Colorado Lagoon include:

  • Removing contaminated sediment;
  • Cleaning an underground culvert to improve water circulation with Alamitos Bay;
  • Installing bioswales to naturally filter out stormwater contaminants; and
  • Installing trash traps and a low-flow diversion system to divert some of the most heavily contaminated stormwater into the sewage system.

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