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High Bacteria Levels Persist in Waters Around Pier

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

June 7, 2022 -- The Santa Monica pier remains under a health advisory that has persisted for at least the past month, Los Angeles County Health officials said Tuesday.

The water 100 yards north and south of the pier -- which is tested weekly by both the City and County -- continues to exceed State standards for bacteria.

The high levels of bacteria, especially in the area around the Pico-Kenter storm drain, pose a danger to swimmers, surfers and those playing in the ocean, health officials said.

With temperatures expected to climb into the low 90s in LA this weekend, visitors to the County's most crowded beach are advised to stay away from the water.

The beach around the pier has been on the County's watch list "for a while," said Bharat Dungrani, an environmental health specialist with the County.

The bacteria level "has been high consistently for the last month," Dungrani said.

The high levels could be in part due to the large crowds flocking to the County's "highest used beach" and perhaps to the ocean currents, Dungrani said.

Water quality near the pier also suffers from natural factors including bird debris, according to City officials.

The combination has resulted in consistently poor grades for he pier when Heal the Bay issues its annual Beach Report Card.

In the 2020-21 Beach Report Card, which was issued late last June, the pier water was given a D grade during dry summer weather, which covers the period from April to October 2020. The area barely avoided the infamous Beach Bummers list.

The Pier received an F during dry winter weather, from November 2020 to March 2021, and also received an F during wet weather, when rain flushes contaminants and pollution, including bacteria, from streets directly into the ocean.

Conditions are expected to improve with the construction of the $96 million Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP), a stormwater harvesting tank that will divert stormwater away "for treatment and beneficial reuse," City officials said.

The only other beach under the County's health advisory on Tuesday was Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey.

For information on the latest beach conditions call LA County's beach closure hotline at 1-800-525-5662 to get recorded information or visit their website.

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