A trio of San Diego County beaches landed on an environmental beach group’s annual honor roll with perfect year-round water quality ratings, but two others were ranked among the most polluted in the state due to the flow of wastewater from the Tijuana River, according to a report released Tuesday.
A total of 35 California beaches earned Heal the Bay Honor Roll spots, up from 42 last year. Orange County led the way with 10 on the list.
The top-rated San Diego County beaches were Carlsbad on Encina Creek, Carlsbad on Palomar Airport Road, and Solana Beach Tide Beach Park on Solana Vista Drive.
While the news in Heal the Bay’s annual beach report card was mostly good for the coastline across the state, San Diego County had two beaches on the Beach Bummer list as the most polluted beaches. State: Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge at the mouth of the Tijuana River and the beach located three-quarters of a mile north of the mouth of the river.
“These beaches are affected by the sewage that flows from the Tijuana River and the Punta Bandera Treatment Plant,” the report indicates. “The wastewater originates from the deteriorated and insufficient sewerage infrastructure in the city of Tijuana.”
The Heal the Bay report assigns letter grades to beaches based on water quality and pollution, ranging from A to F.
Crowded beaches on holiday weekend
According to the report, 93% of California’s beaches received an A or B rating for the summer of 2020, roughly on par with the rating on the five-year average. During dry winter conditions, 92% of the beaches scored A or B, but during wet weather, only 57% of the beaches received the best scores.
The report notes that wet weather results may be biased by lower-than-usual water sampling during the period, with five counties collecting no samples during wet weather. But the report’s authors noted that the poor wet weather ratings are concerning, given that rainfall in coastal counties was 41% below the historical average during the winter. However, the beach’s quality ratings still fell.
Test results for Southern California beaches, which stretch from Santa Barbara to San Diego counties, were generally on par with results at the state level, with 94% of the beaches receiving A or B grades. during the dry summer months.
The concern is that every time more people arrive on the beaches, especially here in La Jolla Shores, they are carrying shells, stones or touching animals, which is damaging the ecosystem of the organisms that live in the tide pools, where they are the water remains between the dry and the wet
Shelley Luce, President / CEO of Heal the Bay, wrote in the report that climate change continues to present challenges for the coast.
“All regions of California are experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions in 2021,” Luce said. “Although decreased rainfall generally improves water quality, our beaches and ocean ecosystems are still threatened by rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and other sources of pollution. This is alarming as we expect people to increasingly seek ocean beaches and freshwater pools to cool off as local temperatures rise. ”