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Water Around Pier Under Continued Health Advisory

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By Jorge Casuso

September 8, 2023 -- The water near the Santa Monica Pier remained under a Public Health advisory Friday as bacteria levels exceeded State standards that make it unsafe to swim.

The warning comes as the Los Angeles weather forecast calls for sunny skies and highs in the mid-90s over the weekend.

The affected area is 100 yards on either side of the Pier as well as a similar stretch around the Pico-Kenter storm drain, County Health officials said.

Sites are considered potentially unsafe if the concentration of bacteria exceeds the level at which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 32 out of 1,000 swimmers will get sick from the water.

The health advisories are common for the Pier, which Heal the Bay's 2022-23 Beach Report Card named California's most polluted beach ("Santa Monica Pier Is California's Most Polluted Beach," June 15, 2023).

The high levels of bacteria persist despite more than $100 million spent by the City over the last five years to protect Santa Monica Bay and improve beach water quality.

City officials recently noted that the Pier water represents only 5 percent of Santa Monica beach, which "consistently receives an 'A' grade or above for water quality on average" ("Water Quality Under Pier Gives Santa Monica Beaches a Bum Rap, City Officials Say," August 21, 2023).

An advisory also remained in place Friday for Marina del Rey Mother’s Beach, an enclosed area with little wave action and water circulation that Heal the Bay named one of the five most polluted beaches in California.

Meanwhile, a 10,000-gallon sewage spill on Thursday forced the closure a half mile stretch of both Venice Beach and Dockweiler State Beach on either side of Ballona Creek.

The spill was the result of a blocked wastewater line that caused untreated sewage to enter the storm drain at La Cienega Boulevard and Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles.

The blocked line was been cleared and the leakage stopped, but it is unclear when the beaches will be reopened, County officials said.

“The Department of Public Health will conduct water sampling daily, and the closures will remain in effect until Public Health receives sampling results indicating that bacterial levels meet health standards,” officials said.

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