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Hermosa Beach Water Maintains Quality

Second time this year, Hermosa Beach earns an A-plus grade on Heal the Bay's beach report card.

Good news for Hermosa Beach surf: The quality of its water has maintained its A-plus grade, according to .

The nonprofit released its End of Summer Beach Report Card on Tuesday, which tracked bacterial pollution from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

During that time frame, Heal the Bay monitored and rated 447 beaches in California.

For Hermosa Beach, water was tested at 26th Street during a 30-day period ending Sept. 19, and received an A-plus grade. The city earned high marks before in the Heal the Bay's previous , released in May.

In an effort to protect ocean water quality, Hermosa Beach has improved its storm drain system.

The city completed construction of two projects last year that filter pollutants from stormwater and urban runoff before they reach the ocean: the Pier Avenue Beautification Project, which received a , and the Strand Infiltration Trench, which and the .

But countywide, Heal the Bay's previous Beach Report Card indicated the overall water quality at Los Angeles County beaches worsened in 2010-11.

This summer, 89 percent of Santa Monica Bay beaches earned A or B grades, compared with 87 percent last year. In Los Angeles County, the number of A or B grades rose from 79 to 85 percent of beaches monitored.

The biggest improvement in Los Angeles happened in Long Beach, where all the sites monitored this summer got A or B grades—a first since 1990. Last year, that was only the case with 73 percent of beaches in that area.

"We continue to see water quality improvements at California beaches," said Heal the Bay President Mark Gold in a statement. "A sustainable source of beach monitoring funding is critical to ensure that we continue to capitalize on these gains and safeguard the public health of millions of ocean users statewide."

For other beaches near Santa Monica, the news wasn't so good. Santa Monica Bay beaches including Malibu Pier, Surfrider Beach and Topanga State Beach were among the ones that earned F grades.

In May, the Santa Monica Beach areas near the pier were removed from Heal the Bay's list of "Beach Bummers" on its Beach Report Card.

"A combination of water-quality improvement projects including new storm drain infrastructure, runoff diversion replacement and the installation of bird exclusion nets under part of the pier, may have contributed to the drastically improved grades" in the End of Summer Beach Report Card, Heal the Bay said.

Ninety-four percent of Orange County beaches earned an A grade, which was slightly worse than last summer, while all 73 beaches monitored in San Diego earned an A or B grade. All 40 Ventura beaches got an A.

The news wasn't so good at San Pedro's Cabrillo Beach, which continued its eight-year streak of earning F grades, despite the city of Los Angeles pouring $15 million into improvement projects. Water quality was better in Santa Barbara County, where 87 percent of beaches received A or B grades. 

While the water quality improved in Southern California this summer, there wasn't a similar uptick statewide. Like last year, 92 percent of California beaches received A or B grades. Nine earned Cs, nine received Ds and 19 got Fs.

Heal the Bay bases its report on weekly water quality monitoring data that is provided by dischargers and health agencies. The methodology behind the Beach Report Card—which the nonprofit calls "a comprehensive examination of coastal water in California, Oregon and Washington" can be found online.

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