Pismo Beach ranked as 10th most polluted beach in California

People splash in the waves next to the Pismo Beach Pier.
People splash in the waves next to the Pismo Beach Pier. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Pismo Beach south of the pier has made the list of the top 10 most polluted beaches in California, according to the environmental group Heal the Bay in its annual beach report card.

The ranking was based on high bacteria levels that can cause illnesses such as stomach flu, ear infections and skin rashes.

“Over the past few years, this location appeared to be on the upturn after historic poor water quality,” the report stated.

Pismo Beach historically had poor water quality from 2002 to 2011 before water quality improved during the summer swimming season, the report stated. That trend did not continue during summer 2015, however.

“As water quality improved elsewhere throughout the state, this location had enough exceedances to warrant making the Beach Bummer list,” the report concluded.

Elsewhere in San Luis Obispo County, nearly 9 in 10 beaches were graded with A rankings during summer months. These included San Simeon, Cayucos State Beach and Morro Strand State Beach. One beach in Avila Beach as well as Olde Port Beach were given B ratings.

The report said the drought could be helping to improve water quality because it reduced the amount of polluted runoff. The group graded 456 beaches throughout the state using an A to F scale.

The other beaches to make the Beach Bummer list are Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz, Clam Beach in Humboldt County, Shoreline Beach Park in San Diego County, Monarch Beach in Orange County, Santa Monica Pier, Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey, Redondo Municipal Pier, Candlestick Point in San Francisco County, and Pilar Point in San Mateo County.

Beach-goers can check the latest water quality grades at their favorite beaches, based on the latest samples, each week at beachreportcard.org.

The San Luis Obispo County Environmental Health Services monitored 18 locations on a weekly basis throughout the year from Pico Avenue in San Simeon down coast to Pismo State Beach at the end of Strand Way.

Heal the Bay’s Top 10 Most Polluted Beaches

The California beach locations that had the most significant pollution problems, according to the environmental organization:

1. Cowell Beach, west of the wharf (Santa Cruz County)

2. Clam Beach, near Strawberry Creek (Humboldt County)

3. Shoreline Beach Park at Shelter Island (San Diego County)

4. Monarch Beach, north at Salt Creek (Orange County)

5. Santa Monica Pier (Los Angeles County)

6. Marina del Rey — Mother’s Beach (Los Angeles County)

7. Redondo Municipal Pier (Los Angeles County)

8. Candlestick Point/Sunnydale Cove (San Francisco County)

9. Pillar Point, end of West Point Avenue (San Mateo County)

10. Pismo Beach Pier, 40 feet south (San Luis Obispo County)