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L.A. County Beaches Report Card: Interactive Map

The L.A. Department of Public Health recommends that people avoid the water 72-hours after a rain storm.

The following is a water quality report for beaches in wet weather from Oct. 28 to Nov. 28 compiled from data courtesy of Heal the Bay, a nonprofit environmental group.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommends that people avoid the water 72-hours after a rainfall due to elevated fecal bacteria concentrations.

Surfers: There is a West Northwest Swell building that could see sets in the double overhead range in some spots in L.A. County. The surf will diminish by Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Grades are based on an A+ to F scale. Grades indicate the likelihood of swimmers becoming ill. Water samples are analyzed for bacteria – enterococcus, total and fecal coliforms. The report does not measure the amount of trash or toxins found at local beaches.

Please note: The last sampling date was Wednesday, therefore although beach grades reflect the rain that hit the L.A. area on Wednesday, they do not include the additional rain on Thursday and Friday that may have worsened conditions. 

Additionally, no wet weather data is available for most beach in the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Long Beach area.

Dark Blue Marker = A+

Light Blue Marker = A

Green Marker = B

Yellow Marker = C

Pink = D

Red Marker = F

Purple Marker = No sample taken

Hans Laetz December 02, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Exactly (oops - faulty click). I think it is very safe to say that the body of science established since cholera was linked to septic disposal in London in 1855 is that human excrement is bad for the environment. Certainly, the scientists who wrote the Clean Water Act in DC and Porter Cologne Act in Sacto, plus the EPA, WQCB, health Department etc. scientists who implement the law, agree.
hellwood December 02, 2012 at 05:46 PM
the EPA??? you must love drinking fluoride punch
Wendi Werner December 02, 2012 at 06:13 PM
"Scientifically, the fact is that pathogens harmful to people are breeding in the partly-treated sewage that flows from septic tanks to groundwater to the lagoons and creek to the ocean." Tell the readers where you think this statement is factual? As it is not true for the intense study done by USGS or in two studies done by SCCWRP. There is no evidence to indicate this in ANY in depth study since 2000.
Hans Laetz December 02, 2012 at 06:19 PM
In the other thread, I cut and pasted the abstract of his final publication and put it into the Patch. Those are HIS WORDS, not mine. The above summation is an accurate report of what Izbicki wrote in his final, published study. You raise a good issue, though. it may be that Izbicki's preliminary findings may contrast somewhat with his final, peer-reviewed report. This happens in science, and it echoes his warning at the end of his preliminary report that no final conclusions should be based on that article.
Wendi Werner December 02, 2012 at 06:31 PM
No Hans, I am not confused with what the cities are held hostage on. The current Federal lawsuit on urban runoff is only related to the LA and San Gabriel rivers because the NRDC and Santa Monica Baykeeper / LA Waterkeeper failed to demonstrate to the courts satisfaction that the fecal indicator bacteria exceedences at Surfrider beach (erroneously cited in the LA Times article) could not be proven to be connected to Urban runoff in the Malibu Creek watershed to the exceedences at Surfrider. They tried and failed to prove this point. These issues are complicated to us, especially in natural systems, however scientist are more confident with all of the new tools and best avail. science that is being applied. Nobody should rely on one research study. Credible scientist rely on multiple lines of evidence.
Wendi Werner December 02, 2012 at 06:32 PM
No Hans, I am not confused with what the cities are held hostage on. The current Federal lawsuit on urban runoff is only related to the LA and San Gabriel rivers because the NRDC and Santa Monica Baykeeper / LA Waterkeeper failed to demonstrate to the courts satisfaction that the fecal indicator bacteria exceedences at Surfrider beach (erroneously cited in the LA Times article) could not be proven to be connected to Urban runoff in the Malibu Creek watershed to the exceedences at Surfrider. They tried and failed to prove this point. These issues are complicated to us, especially in natural systems, however scientist are more confident with all of the new tools and best avail. science that is being applied. Nobody should rely on one research study. Credible scientist rely on multiple lines of evidence.
Cece Stein December 02, 2012 at 07:53 PM
The Malibu Lagoon berm has breached near 2nd point and a large variety of water fowl are feasting on fish. Herons have claimed the winter ramp, also witnessed was a deer walking from under the bridge out towards the beach. Stern warning from the Woods household to the 8 guys surfing at 3rd point ( we witnessed this morning ) in the first flush of the year, hope your immune system is tuned up !
Hans Laetz December 02, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Wendi, it really does not matter what I think are the facts. It also does not matter how you interpret the facts. The reader can judge what we post and make their assessments. You and hellwood have certain views, which are not accepted by any of the people who have the legal responsibility to clean up Malibu's water mess. The only thing that matters is that there are TMDLs, which are operative legal findings made by the EPA and state Water Board. And they have ruled that the TMDLs are reasonable, lawful standards. And so, Malibu is obligated to abide by the law. That's not subject to opinion, that's a fact.
Wendi Werner December 02, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Elevated "FIB" is consistently not correlated with positive tests for human markers at many sites using the best available monitoring tools. Its acronym is telling -- it is not an outright lie, but it is a fib when it comes to its use today as the sole public health evaluation technique. A steadily growing number of respected scientists worldwide are working to replace this very misleading antiquated monitoring tool as a public health noticing method. The recently published 2012 US EPA Recreation Bacteria Criteria acknowledge this trend and now suggest that a variety of methods may provide more accurate information in order for local government and health departments to use the newest tools to reduce human health risk. Regulators, beach managers and municipalities should focus their resources on prevention of the bacteria with the greatest chance to reduce public health risk, human fecal bacteria, and when evaluating the source of bacteria in waters used for recreation, they should use multiple lines of evidence when making management or regulatory decisions. Too much time and money is being wasted on removal of bacteria that has virtually no human health risk.
Hans Laetz December 02, 2012 at 09:59 PM
OK. I just pulled up the 2012 US EPA Recreation Bacteria Criteria, and on page 1 it says: "The 2012 RWQC rely on the latest research and science, including studies that show a link between illness and fecal contamination in recreational waters. They are based on the use of two bacterial indicators of fecal contamination, E. coli and enterococci." Those are FIB. The EPA is still relying on enterococci and e.coli, but is changing the threstholds for action -- actually, lowering the concentration. Quote: "The 2012 RWQC offer two sets of numeric concentration thresholds, either of which would protect the designated use of primary contact recreation and, therefore, would protect the public from exposure to harmful levels of pathogens. Illness rates upon which these recommendations are based use the National Epidemiological and Environmental Assessment of Recreational Water (NEEAR) definition of gastrointestinal illness, which is not limited to illnesses which exhibit a fever." The EPA document you refer to most certainly does not show scientists to be "working to replace this very misleading antiquated monitoring tool as a public health noticing method," as you say. i It shows the exact opposite. The EPA scientists are exactly in opposition to your claim.
Hans Laetz December 02, 2012 at 10:00 PM
http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/standards/criteria/health/recreation/upload/factsheet2012.pdf
hellwood December 03, 2012 at 12:12 AM
please breach it at 3rd next time cece :)
Wendi Werner December 03, 2012 at 12:31 AM
@ Hans, You tend to quote only one part of an entire document and tend to stick with what you think the entire finding is. The rest of the document shows exactly what I have been talking about : the one size fits all TMDL is out-dated THIS IS IN THE DOCUMENT AS WELL A Single Level of Beach Use: The 1986 bacteria criteria document included four single sample maximum (SSM) values appropriate for different levels of beach usage (use intensities). In the 2012 RWQC, EPA removed those recommendations and instead provided states with optional, precautionary BAVs for use in monitoring and notification programs. More Tools for Assessing and Managing Recreational Waters: EPA is providing information on tools for evaluating and managing recreational waters, such as predictive modeling and sanitary surveys. The Agency is also providing tools for developing site-specific criteria such as epidemiological studies, quantitative microbial risk assessment, and use of alternative indicators or methods. The EPA has developed and validated a molecular testing method using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) as a rapid analytical technique for the detection of enterococci in recreational water (EPA Method 1611). For the purposes of beach monitoring, a state may use a qPCR method on a site-specific basis.
Wendi Werner December 03, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Time will tell. We will have to respectfully disagree on this. There are a number of new methodologies that are being successfully well utilized.
Wendi Werner December 03, 2012 at 12:50 AM
WEEEE. We now have 3 animals at the new mud pit!!!!!! Stoked
Stuart Ebert December 03, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Here is a partial list of beaches in SoCal shown to be impacted by bacteria from natural sources (birds): Doheny State Beach/ Dana Point Poche Beach/ San Clemente Huntington State Beach @ Talbert Marsh Malibu Lagoon Pismo Beach I believe that all of these cases were confirmed by DNA/PCR testing. All of these were initially blamed (incorrectly) on nearby sewage treatment facilities. The LA RWQCB has similarly blamed (incorrectly) septic systems and wastewater facilities in central Malibu for high bacti counts. They also required or encouraged the installation of chlorine disinfection systems which resulted in high levels of chlorine in groundwater. Sounds like a lot of guesswork and wasted money to me.
hellwood December 03, 2012 at 01:42 AM
hans, Do you think that if bird crap or seaweed can fail a beach, that Malibu should be held accountable? I dont get your argument.
Wendi Werner December 03, 2012 at 01:47 AM
So nice to see someone else gets it. Thank you, Stuart.
sean December 03, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Malibu's problem with water quality is caused by leaky septic systems, and Malibu resident's refusal to spend the money to bring them up to standard. It's such a shame that wealthy malibu residents are too cheap to fix their own mess. Whoever thinks is from birds is totally clueless. The birds have been here before the elevated bacteria levels and they will be here long after.
Hans Laetz December 03, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Wendy, I think it is clear that the portion of the document I posted was relevant to the continued use of Fecal Indicator Bacteria by the EPA to measure harmful pathogens, While you are correct that I omitted some of the document, a close reading of it shows it to be completely irrelevant to the fact that the EPA most certainly has not walked away from FIB as the standard for water safety. As you stated. I also posted the link to the entire EPA "fact sheet" document. There is also a 62-page pdf available at the site. I did not quote the entire pdf, but I did post a link to it. And the rest of the document does not address TMDLs whatsoever. It is, frankly, dangerous and a complete disservice to the facts to claim that this study calls into question the TMDL pollution standards, when that issue is not addressed at all. I appreciate the class and reasoned arguments that you post here. Thank you.
hellwood December 03, 2012 at 11:11 PM
...because sean knows more than hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of scientific studies that have perplexed heal the bay's water quality specialist as well as Izbicki. trust me sean, everybody is trying to prove what you are saying to be factual, but the scientific proof does not exist. The facts are, that cutting edge DNA testing is proving that nature can fail a beach without the help of a human under the current TMDL's. Do you work for the RWQCB or HTB? ....or are you just trying to punish the locals because of a bad experience?
Wendi Werner December 04, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Do your homework, Sean. There are no human FIB in the ocean. Study after study proves that. Read the USGS latest intense study. Or the NOAA latest study. Or the two studies done by SCCWRP. The septics are not failing. It's people like you who don't educate yourselves and make ignorant comments that keep people confused or maybe that is your job.
Hans Laetz December 04, 2012 at 03:47 AM
The bird crap and seaweed are merely seeding the nitrogen and other nutrients steaming onto beaches and into lagoons from septic tanks. Eliminate the food source, and the "natural" bacteria nd viruses do not multiply. Izbicki's study suggests that the initial source of the seed Bactria and other pathogens are not directly flowing out of septic tanks and OWTS. But it also states directly that contaminants OTHER THAN THE PATHOGENS THEMSELVES are flowing frm septic tanks to groundwater to the lagoon to the surf. Malibu (and Tapia) should be held accountable for adding too much clean, treated water to the lagoon watershed. Malibu must remove both that clean water, and the clean water that carries nutrients, from the lagoon watershed.
Hans Laetz December 04, 2012 at 03:59 AM
There are indeed Fecal Indicator Bacteria in the ocean. They just are not out of human butts flowing into the ocean and thriving in the nutrients coming from Malibu septic tanks. They're coming from bird butts, be thriving in the nutrients coming from Malibu septic tanks. Wendi, you will make Malibu a laughingstock if you convince people that Malibu is the only place I the world where septic tanks in the surf line are nor connected to sick surfers. By all means read the studies, Sean. All the regulatory agencies that read those studies have told the good people of Malibu that our s--t stinks, just like everywhere else.
Wendi Werner December 04, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Hans, Don't dumb yourself down. In fact, if you were at the TAC lecture that Izbiki spoke at (the one I asked you to attend) you have found the opposite of what you just wrote. The natural bacteria are what is causing the exceedences from gull matter and kelp. Dr. Izbiki never says they are the "seeds" that you, once again reword and refer too.
marie December 04, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Our boy Sean is employed by Ms. Luce… So him reading the studies or doing his homework isn’t going to do anybody, any good since he’s already being fed what to say, ...period.
Wendi Werner December 04, 2012 at 04:44 AM
This is indeed a complicated issue. These advocacy groups have focused on cities with watersheds up and down the coast by imposing TMDL limits that are impossible to meet and they know it. 63 cities have made their voice heard. The new studies and science that have been ignored until now will inevitability be a game changer.
Hans Laetz December 04, 2012 at 05:45 AM
The cities are suing because they argue that they should not be forced the expense and trouble of meeting TMDLs -- that's Total Maximum Daily Loads -- of known and obvious pollutants. The EPA and state Water Board have set limits (TMDLs) on things like arsenic, nitrogen and plain old trash. All of these are, through decades of scientific learnings, been proven to be pollutants. The Supreme Court is about to hear a case, which will NOT establish whether TMDL laws are good or bad. It will determine if they are constitutional, and within the laws written by Congress. Your "game changer" is not viewed as such by anyone other than a very narrow band of people in Malibu who seem to think that they have discovered 150-plus years of scientific advances on combating water pollution are wrong. Izbicki has discovered indications -- and it is just one study -- that the crud in local waters (as measured by FIB, which was and will be the legal "gold standard" for measuring such crud) does not come directly from septics, but rather comes from birds and merely thrives in the septic runoff that is measured to run into Malibu Lagoon and then the surf.
hellwood December 04, 2012 at 07:40 PM
RE:Hans Laetz 7:47 pm on Monday, December 3, 2012 "The bird crap and seaweed are merely seeding the nitrogen and other nutrients steaming onto beaches and into lagoons from septic tanks. Eliminate the food source, and the "natural" bacteria nd viruses do not multiply." can you say with 100% certainty, that seaweed is not a food source? do you really believe that enterococci cant reproduce on seaweed without the extra nutrients? enterococci is everywhere. it's its unpredictability of high concentrations that are confusing. it can survive long periods of time with no nutrients. the exact nutrients required are unknown and it defies typical DNA synthesis. it is mysterious, and being used as a baseline standard. either way, we need to shut down tapia and see how many nutrients are left. deep well injections into our saturated land will also affect the quality of our groundwater, and even more nutrients will enter the equation
Wendi Werner December 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Agree to disagree. Time will tell. I trust the scientists who have done the peer reviewed studies. Many of them. Not the narrow band of people who want to continue with the same outdated theories and methods of testing.

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