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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Here You Go: The Filthiest Beach in California Is...

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 10:30 AM

The article you are now reading has been timed to go live one second after the press embargo on the annual Heal the Bay state beach report card is lifted. So, without further ado, we can inform you that the most fecal bacteria-infested, nastiest beach in all the Golden State is: Avalon Harbor Beach on Catalina Island in Los Angeles County (same as last year). Actually six of the 10 nastiest beaches were in Los Angeles County. San Francisco County eluded this dubious distinction -- though Sonoma County's Campbell Cove State Park Beach did come in at No. 9 (this beach, too, is a repeat offender).

As we noted yesterday, the vast majority of San Francisco's 17 beaches were free enough of "toxic heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers, petroleum hydrocarbons, animal waste, trash and even human sewage" to warrant A or A+ grades. But we are balancing things out with some big, fat F's. San Francisco is also the only county in the state to have a combined sewage and stormwater system -- meaning that big storms can flush raw sewage right out onto the beaches. For this and other reasons, San Francisco county beaches tested poorly in wet weather -- maybe you should reconsider your need to swim 72 hours or fewer after a rainstorm, no?

Anyhow, here's the good news: The western portion of Crissy Field Beach made the Heal the Bay "honor roll" for a perfect score, year-round (Look Ma! No bacteria!). The ratings of all our other beaches follow:

Grades are: From April to October, dry weather overall, and wet weather overall.

Aquatic Park Beach, Hyde St. Pier (proj. of Larkin St.) A A A+
Aquatic Park Beach, 211 Station A B C
Crissy Field Beach East, 202.4 Station A B B
Crissy Field Beach West 202.5 station A+ A+ A
Baker Beach East, Ocean #15 East A A A+
Baker Beach, Lobos Creek F F A+
Baker Beach West, Ocean #16 A A A
China Beach, end of Sea Cliff Ave. A A A+
Ocean Beach, projection of Balboa Ave. A A B
Ocean Beach, projection of Lincoln Way A A C
Ocean Beach, projection of Sloat Blvd. A+ A C
Candlestick Point, Jackrabbit Beach A A D
Candlestick Point, Windsurfer Circle A B F
Candlestick Point, Sunnydale Cove A A F

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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