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5 of California’s 10 Dirtiest Beaches are in the Bay Area

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According to an annual report testing CA beach waters,of California’s 10 worst polluted beaches, 3 are in San Mateo County, 1 in Santa Cruz County, and 1 is in San Francisco at ‘Candlestick Point, Windsurfer Circle‘.

Candlestick Point.

If you are a windsurfer, you may want to avoid venturing into the waters by the old Candlestick Park these days.

Candlestick Point, Windsurfer Circle.

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A popular beach in Santa Cruz,  “Capitola Beach, west of jetty” is also on the gross list.  Only 9 beaches in CA got an ‘F’ score for pollution.

Capitola Beach, Santa Cruz.

And if you’re anywhere near Foster City, it’s safe to say “DONT TOUCH THE WATER!”  Foster City has 3 beaches that got an ‘F’ score for cleanliness.

Heal the Bay releases scientific reports and annual bacterial-pollution rankings for hundreds of beaches in California during 2020 – 2021.

According to the Heal the Bay report:

The good news is California beaches had excellent water quality in summer 2020. With 93% of the California beaches monitored by Heal the Bay received an A or B grade, which is on par with the five-year average.

Even so, scientists remain deeply concerned about ocean water quality. Polluted waters pose a significant health risk to millions of people in California. People who come in contact with water with a C grade or lower are at a greater risk of contracting illnesses such as stomach flu, ear infections, upper respiratory infections, and rashes.

Beaches and rivers usually have high-risk water quality following a rain event. Less rain typically means that reduced amounts of pollutants, including bacteria, are flushed through storm drains and rivers into the ocean. However, this wasn’t the case this past winter. Rainfall across coastal counties in California was 41 percent lower than the historical average. Yet only 57% of California beaches had good or excellent grades during wet weather, which was worse than average. The lower grades are in part due to the high percentage of “first flush” samples in the wet weather dataset.

San Mateo County

“San Mateo County continues to struggle with water quality as three beaches in the Foster City area landed on the Beach Bummer list: Erckenbrack Park, Gull Park, and Marlin Park. Erckenbrack Park appeared on the Bummer list last year along with five other San Mateo County beaches. Four of those 2019 Beach Bummers were not monitored at all in 2020. This is alarming as this stretch of coastline has experienced high levels of fecal pollution and is very popular with beachgoers who are now without any information on potential contamination.”

Foster City, Erckenbrack Park

California’s Beach Bummer List

Heal the Bay’s Beach Bummer List ranks the most polluted beaches in California based on levels of harmful bacteria in the ocean. The 2020-2021 Beach Bummer List includes beaches in San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Humboldt, and Santa Cruz Counties.

  1. Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Tijuana River mouth – San Diego County

  2. Foster City, Erckenbrack Park – San Mateo County

  3. Capitola Beach, west of jetty – Santa Cruz County

  4. Foster City, Gull Park – San Mateo County

  5. Marina del Rey Mother’s Beach, between Lifeguard Tower and Boat dock – Los Angeles County

  6. Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, 3/4 miles north of Tijuana River – San Diego County

  7. Clam Beach County Park at Strawberry Creek – Humboldt County

  8. Foster City, Marlin Park – San Mateo County

  9. Candlestick Point, Windsurfer Circle – San Francisco County

  10. East Beach at Mission Creek – Santa Barbara County


Swim safely my friends

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife (not so much nightlife anymore).

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