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Improving Our Beach Water Quality
Heal the Bay Logo Residents in the Second District have reason to be proud of the ongoing efforts by our City to improve water quality along our beaches, marinas and harbor. The most recent Heal the Bay Report Card gave every point along our coast an A or B grade. To view the report card from Heal the Bay, please go to and click on The Beach Report Card in the top right hand corner.

In its breakdown of Southern California beaches, the report made mention of Long Beach:

This summer marks a dramatic improvement in Long Beach’s beach grades, with 100% of beaches receiving A and B grades. This is an impressive 27% improvement over last year (73% A and B grades), as well as the third summer in a row Long Beach has shown improved water quality. In general, beach water quality at the main beaches in Long Beach tends to be impacted by the Los Angeles River. This is supported by an extensive source tracking study which showed the vast majority of bacterial contamination at Long Beach beaches was a result of pollution from the Los Angeles River. The City of Long Beach has remained dedicated to improving beach water quality through the implementation of several mitigation projects, including at Colorado Lagoon, which is listed on the State of California’s 303(d) list as an impaired water body. Phase 1 of the Colorado Lagoon Project included installing bioswales, storm drain diversions, and removing large amounts of bioaccumulation, was completed in April 2011. Phase 2 will be underway this fall and focuses on further improvements to the tidal connection between the lagoon and Marine Stadium.


Heal the Bay today released its report of beach water quality, with Long Beach receiving excellent marks for its beach water quality. Water quality in Long Beach showed "dramatic improvement," with all beaches receiving an "A" grade except for one "B" at Mother's Beach from the Heal the Bay 2011 End of Summer Beach Report Card. This is the third summer in a row Long Beach has shown improved water quality.

As Heal the Bay noted, "The City of Long Beach has remained dedicated to improving beach water quality through the implementation of several mitigation projects." The Report Card singled out recently completed improvements at Colorado Lagoon, including:

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

Other factors affecting recreational water quality include the amount of rainfall, and the frequency and severity of sewage spills from upstream communities.

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

Long Beach has been proactive in the implementation of best management practices to reduce bacteria levels in recreational waters.

Long Beach and 15 upriver cities are installing thousands of trash-capturing devices in regional storm drains that flow to the Los Angeles River and then the Long Beach coastline. This project, nearly complete, will prevent hundreds of tons of trash from entering the storm drains with urban runoff.

The City signed an historic agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers in 2010 to conduct the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study to study potential changes to the Long Beach Breakwater, Los Angeles River, and the Bay to improve water quality, restore the ecosystem, and create recreational opportunities.

The Los Angeles County Termino Avenue Storm Drain Project, which is nearly complete, 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 to improve the water quality of storm runoff.

The City of Long Beach continues to test our recreational waters weekly throughout the year. These results are available online at and on our 24-hour recorded water information line, 562.570.4199.