Long Beach continues to improve its water quality and has seen sustained progress over the past seven years. According to the Heal the Bay 2017-2018 Beach Report Card that was issued today, the City of Long Beach continues to earn excellent recreational water quality grades with 100 percent of its beaches receiving A and B grades for the summer months (April through October 2017).
The Beach Report Card was established over 25 years ago to provide beachgoers with a reliable and easy-to-understand tool for analyzing beach water quality. The better the grade a beach receives, the lower the risk of illness to ocean users.
“Our City and partners have been working hard to ensure sustained improvement in our water quality,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Good water quality is good for the health of our swimmers and creates a vibrant and inviting environment for visitors to come enjoy our beaches and bays.”
The State Health and Safety Code, AB 411, requires testing of recreational waters during summer dry weather, which is the most active beach recreation season in California. All 15 beaches sampled in Long Beach received A or B grades (12 A’s and three B’s) from April through October 2017. The Colorado Lagoon received two A grades for the summer after being closed last year for dredging, a process which improves water quality through the removal of sediment.
“Summer is near, and this is great news to celebrate,” said Councilmember Jeannine Pearce. “Community members along the coast and from all over the city can continue to enjoy the beach with peace of mind, especially during hot weather.”
Heal the Bay also grades beaches during dry winter months, which spans from November 2017 through March 2018. Eighty-seven percent of the City’s beaches during those months received A and B grades, of which two are A+’s. This is up from last year's 62 percent A and B grades. Alamitos Bay received A+ and A grades for both summer dry months and winter dry months.
“I am always excited to hear how fantastic our water quality is, and this report continues the trend of positive progress as a result of the hard work our City does to maintain excellent water quality,” said Councilwoman Suzie Price. “The water quality in the newly reopened Colorado Lagoon is such great news as it has become an amazing habitat for native plant and animals; and Alamitos Bay has also been outstanding all year, especially with the debut of the new 'Wibit Waterplay Structure' located at Bayshore. I really look forward to this summer seeing everyone out enjoying these amazing features we are so lucky to have.”
Rainy weather remains a challenge for the region as well as the City of Long Beach, with the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers flowing into Long Beach waters, resulting in C, D and F grades during wet weather throughout the year. The City will continue to work with upstream cities, state and federal regulatory agencies and other stakeholders to address impacts from stormwater runoff.
Here are some examples of how the City is using infrastructure improvements, grant funding, regional partnerships and technology to meet quality standards compliance goals and improve water quality in Long Beach:
Colorado Lagoon Restoration Phase 2B: As a component of the Colorado Lagoon Master Restoration Plan, this completed projectincluded hydraulic dredging of the lagoon and created new subtidal and eelgrass habitats. Additional improvements included installation of a new decomposed granite walking trail, reclaimed water irrigation system, replanting with all native species, and a vegetated bioswale to assist with the removal of pollution from surface runoff water.
Long Beach Municipal Urban Stormwater Treatment (LB-MUST): This upcoming facility project will capture and treat stormwater from 12,000 acres in Long Beach to reduce pollution that enters the Los Angeles River and local beaches. The project is funded by the California Department of Transportation and Proposition 1 (Water Bond) Tier 1 grant funds from the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC). These funds will be used to build the first phase of the project, including the treatment facility and nearby wetlands.
Clean Beaches Initiative: With this initiative, the City constructed low flow diversion (LFD) systems in two major storm drain lines identified as contributing to receiving water impairments. These diversions prevent non-stormwater discharges from reaching the outlet, and pump the water into the sewer, allowing it to be recycled or treated prior to final discharge. A vortex separation system was constructed in-line with each LFD, providing trash and sediment screening. Additionally, ponding on the beach will be eliminated during dry-weather, reducing health concerns for contact recreation on the beach. As a result, a zero-day exceedance is expected from these outfalls during dry-weather.
LC4 Stormwater Capture Project: As part of this project, the Los Cerritos Channel (LCC) Sub-basin 4 Stormwater Capture Facility (infiltration galleries) finished construction of a series of underground chambers at parallel with the channel that will divert stormwater and non-stormwater runoff from flowing into the LCC Estuary, the Alamitos Bay and City beaches. The diversion is designed to not impede peak channel flows (10-year storm). The project will treat an area covering approximately 2,100 acres, and is a multi-agency effort between the City of Long Beach, Caltrans, and the City of Signal Hill.
For current information on water quality in Long Beach, visit https://bitly.com/LBWaterQuality. The Heal the Bay 2017-2018 Beach Report Card is available at www.healthebay.org.