Long Beach Earns ‘A’ Grades on Heal the Bay Annual Beach Report Card

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The City of Long Beach received 100 percent “A” grades for water quality, including seven (7) “A+” grades, according to the Heal the Bay 2015 Annual Beach Report Card that was issued today.
“Our water quality continues to show big improvements thanks to our investments in technology and infrastructure improvements,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We also need to thank our neighboring cities who have worked closely with us to keep the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers clean.”

Fifteen of the 15 beaches sampled received “A” grades during the state-mandated testing period from April through October, known as AB 411, the Assembly Bill that mandates water quality testing. Long Beach also received nearly 100 percent “A+” and “A” grades, with only two “B” grades, during the winter dry months.

“Our namesake beaches are one of our most important assets, so I’m very pleased to see that several years of investments into diverting urban run-off from our recreational areas is making a difference in our beach water quality,” said Vice-Mayor Suja Lowenthal, who represents the 2nd District.

The Colorado Lagoon and the other beaches in Alamitos Bay all received five “A+” grades with one “A” grade during the state-mandated testing period from April through October. The Colorado Lagoon and Alamitos Bay continue to be sites for investment and improvements to water quality and this has consistently reaped dividends for the City.

“Many local and regional initiatives have helped improve our beaches greatly and we are proud of our perfect 100 percent ‘A’ grades during the summer dry weather,” noted Councilmember Suzie Price, who represents the 3rd District.

Last year, the Heal the Bay Annual Beach Report Card gave 13 of the 15 beaches sampled “A” or “B” grades. This year, the report noted, Long Beach bested the five-year average by 16% (71% A or B grades).

Rainy weather remains a challenge for the City of Long Beach, with the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers discharging pollutants into coastal waters.

Here are some examples of how the City of Long Beach has used infrastructure improvements, grant funding, regional partnerships and technology to improve water quality 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 more than 800 tons of trash annually from entering the storm drains and ending up on the City’s beaches

• The Los Angeles County Termino Avenue Storm Drain Project features 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.

• Improvements at Colorado Lagoon included 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.

• A $4.9 million grant from the State Water Resources Control Board Clean Beaches Initiative Grant Program is being used to construct three Low Flow Diversion Systems and two Vortex Separation System devices, both of which divert pollution such as motor oil, dog waste and lawn fertilizer away from waterways. This project is expected to break ground later this year.

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