Environment

2 SLO County beaches recognized for excellent water quality

Tim Carroll of San Luis Obispo relaxes at the beach in Morro Bay at the end of Highway 41 on Wednesday, June 17. The beach got perfect scores for water quality from Heal the Bay.
Tim Carroll of San Luis Obispo relaxes at the beach in Morro Bay at the end of Highway 41 on Wednesday, June 17. The beach got perfect scores for water quality from Heal the Bay. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Two San Luis Obispo County beaches made Heal the Bay’s 2014-15 Honor Roll, according to the group’s annual report released Wednesday.

The beach in San Simeon at Pico Avenue and Morro Bay City Beach at the end of Highway 41 each earned perfect scores as year-round monitored spots with excellent water quality every week of the year, regardless of weather conditions.

The two were among 19 statewide to earn Heal the Bay’s highest rating as part of its Beach Report Card. The others were in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

The report provides grades for three recording periods: summer dry weather, winter dry weather and winter wet weather.

The two Honor Roll beaches earned A-plus grades for each of the three periods.

“This was one of the best years on record for water quality in San Luis Obispo,” the report notes.

Overall, Heal the Bay said California’s beaches are enjoying improved water quality, according to records from 468 spots statewide. Most of the state’s beaches received A grades during the summer period, including nearly 90 percent of San Luis Obispo County beaches.

As part of the report, the group also noted its top 10 Beach Bummers. No local beaches earned that distinction.

Locally, Heal the Bay assessed information from San Luis Obispo County’s Environmental Health Services department, which monitored 19 locations throughout the year.

The summer dry weather water-quality grades were particularly notable, the report said, tallying 17 A’s and 2 B’s.

Winter wet weather grades also were high, with 16 A’s and three B’s.

The only category to slip was winter dry weather with 13 A’s and two B’s, which the report said was surprising.

Four local spots received fair to poor marks for that winter dry weather measurement: Olde Port Beach-Hanford Beach (D grade), Avila Beach at San Juan Street (C grade) and at San Luis Street (F grade), and Silver Shoals Drive in Shell Beach (C grade).

San Luis Obispo County had not received any grades below a B for winter dry weather measurements in the past five years.

The report also noted there were no sewage spills that led to beach closures in 2014-15, although several did reach water bodies that could flow into the ocean.

Some 31 sewage spills were recorded from April 2014 to March 2015, with nine reaching a water body. None were classified as “major,” meaning more than 10,000 gallons.

To read the full report, go to www.healthebay.org/beach-report-card.

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