Besides high property values and great schools, Palos Verdes residents have something to brag about—their beautiful beaches. This year, all six water-quality testing locations earned A's or A+'s in Heal the Bay's 2012 End of Summer Beach Report Card, which assigns beaches letter grades ranging from a high of A to a low of F.
Los Angeles County beach water quality continued to improve over the last year—with 77 of 89 testing sites—or 94 percent—earning grades of A or B, Heal the Bay announced Wednesday.
In Palos Verdes Estates, the daily testing location at Malaga Cove earned A's, while the weekly Malaga Cove testing location and Bluff Cove both earned A+ grades.
Long Point, Abalone Cove and Portuguese Bend Cove all earned grades of A+.
The only blemish on the Palos Verdes Peninsula was Royal Palms State Beach in San Pedro, which saw its grade drop from an A to a B in 2012.
Further up the coast, the chronically polluted Santa Monica Pier earned an A grade for the third consecutive year. Long Beach grades, while still good, slipped a bit, but still garnered 85 percent A and B rankings.
On the downside, Avalon Beach on Catalina Island has consistently been named among the 10 most polluted beaches in the state—the report's Beach Bummer list—and appeared on that list again today. But the report notes that Avalon's sewer infrastructure was upgraded this summer and other water quality improvement projects are under way.
Two other Los Angeles County sites received F's: Malibu Pier and inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro. Heal the Bay and county officials have been unable to find the source of pollution at Malibu Pier, according to the report.
Statewide, the summer qualified as one of the cleanest ever recorded, according to the report. Ninety-six percent of all 446 sites monitored received A or B grades.
Heal the Bay warned that high grades may not last if two recent proposals from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are adopted. One seeks new acceptable bacteria levels that Heal the Bay deems less protective than criteria that have been in place for 25 years. The other would eliminate grant funding that pays for water monitoring programs nationwide.
The full report can be found at http://beachreportcard.org. Beach grades are also updated weekly in a searchable database on the site.
—Editor Nicole Mooradian contributed to this report.