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Mostly Good Marks For San Diego Beaches

Aired 5/25/12 on KPBS News.

San Diego Beaches got pretty high marks in the latest "Heal the Bay Beach Report Card," but the survey also exposed some long-running pollution problems.

— San Diego County did very well on the latest "Heal The Bay Beach Report Card." Almost all - 97 percent - of the county's beaches got very good or good grades for the summer. The statewide average is just over 90 percent. It is also the second year in a row that San Diego County did not have a beach on the list of the state's dirtiest beaches. Clean water advocates say beaches facing the open ocean are usually pretty clean.

Ocean Beach in San Diego
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Above: Ocean Beach in San Diego

"If you're in an enclosed bay or harbor, like Mission Bay or San Diego Bay, or you're swimming near a flowing storm drain, creek, river, or flowing outlet, chances are you're really rolling the dice in terms of what water quality is going to be like when you go swimming there," Heal The Bay's James Alamillo said.

The report gave poor marks to beaches near the mouth of the San Luis Rey River and Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla. South County beaches also got poor marks because cross-border pollution is an ongoing situation there.

"It's a shared problem," said Paloma Aguirre of WildCoast. "It's a shared region. The environment doesn't know any borders and we should really address these pollution issues as a shared region."

Clean water advocates are worried about funding cutbacks that may endanger water quality testing. Federal officials are considering cutting $10 million from a program that tests for bacteria contamination in recreational ocean waters just off shore. State and local cutback have already led to less testing along California beaches.

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