City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM: 052214
Long Beach Receives 86% ‘A’ and ‘B’ Grades for Water Quality from Heal the Bay Annual Beach Report Card
Tom Modica, Deputy City Manager

The City of Long Beach received 86 percent "A" and “B” grades for water quality, a 10 percent improvement over the previous year and a 16 percent improvement over the 5-year average, according to the Heal the Bay 2014 Annual Beach Report Card that was issued today. 
“Our water quality is continuing to realize significant, long-term improvements, thanks to infrastructure improvements, grant funding, regional partnerships and technology,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “Our hard work and investments are paying off in terms of improved water quality.”

Thirteen of the 15 beaches sampled received “A” or “B” grades during the state-mandated testing period from April through October. Long Beach also received 100 percent “A” and “B” grades during the winter dry months, which is 45 percent higher than the 10-year average in Long Beach. 

The Colorado Lagoon and the other beaches in Alamitos Bay all received “A” grades during the state-mandated testing period known as AB 411, after the Assembly Bill that mandates water quality testing, as well as during the winter period (November through March). The Colorado Lagoon recently benefited from an $8.5 million restoration, and ever since has consistently shown A-rated water quality. 

Seven years ago, the 2007 Annual Report Card gave Long Beach just 12 percent “A" and “B” grades. That year, all testing sites at Colorado Lagoon received “F” grades.  

Last year, the Heal the Bay Annual Beach Report Card gave 10 of the 13 beaches sampled “A” or “B” grades.

"Our namesake beaches are one of our most important assets, and we've made great strides in using technology and infrastructure to realize ongoing water quality improvements for several years,” said Councilmember Suja Lowenthal, who represents the 2nd District.

“Grant funding and regional partnerships have helped improve our beaches because we can leverage resources and develop regional solutions to a regional problem,” said Councilmember Gary DeLong, who represents the 3rd District.

According to Heal the Bay: “The City of Long Beach has made significant efforts to identify pollution sources and improve beach water quality, despite influence from the Los Angeles River’s 100-plus square mile drainage area.” Rainy weather remains a challenge, with the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers discharging pollutants into coastal waters.

Here are some examples of how the City of Long Beach has used infrastructure improvements, grant funding, regional partnerships and technology to improve water quality in Long Beach: 

  • Long Beach and 15 upriver cities have installed approximately 12,000 trash-capturing devices in regional storm drains that flow to the Los Angeles River and then the Long Beach coastline. This prevents more than 800 tons of trash annually from entering the storm drains and ending up on the City’s beaches.
  • The Los Angeles County Termino Avenue Storm Drain Project features oil and grease absorbent sponges; retractable catch basin screens to keep trash from entering the storm drain system; and a low-flow diversion system, which routes dry weather urban runoff away from the storm drain system or waterways, and redirect it into the sanitary sewer system, where the contaminated runoff is treated and filters before being discharged into the ocean.

  • Improvements at Colorado Lagoon included removing contaminated sediment; cleaning an underground culvert to improve water circulation with Alamitos Bay; installing bioswales to naturally filter out stormwater contaminants; and installing trash traps and a low-flow diversion system to divert some of the most heavily contaminated stormwater into the sewage system.

  • A $4.9 million grant from the State Water Resources Control Board Clean Beaches Initiative Grant Program is being used to construct three Low Flow Diversion Systems and two Vortex Separation System devices, both of which divert pollution such as motor oil, dog waste and lawn fertilizer away from waterways. This project is expected to break ground later this year.