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Storm Water Pollution and Los Angeles County Beaches

Local Los Angeles County beaches, Santa Monica Bay and the Pacific Ocean suffer dramatically from the effects of storm water pollution. With storm drain outlets flowing directly into the ocean, each day, millions of gallons of polluted water heads unfiltered to our beautiful beaches and bays. Storm water pollution causes increased bacteria levels at our local beaches, making ocean water too polluted for human use and leading to beach advisories, warnings and closures and creating serious health risks to people swimming or fishing in these areas.

Storm water pollution continues to negatively impact the health of Los County beaches and the ocean in the following ways:

  • A study conducted by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project found that storm water pollution in the ocean leads to increased risk of viral infections, earaches, sinus problems, fever, flu and skin rashes and viral diseases such as hepatitis for those swimming in the ocean close to storm drain outfalls, especially following a rainstorm when litter and contaminants are flushed into the storm drain system.
  • During 2002, bacteria levels at Los Angeles County beaches exceeded State water quality standards at numerous locations, leading to 269 warnings posted on Los Angeles County beaches for a total of 1,181 days where the ocean was too polluted for human use.
  • Heal the Bay’s 2002-2003 Annual Beach Report Card on the health of Los Angeles County’s beaches gave 56 percent of monitored beaches a failing grade during wet weather, meaning conditions were hazardous to human health and would have adverse health effects to swimmers who enter the water.
  • Learn more about how storm water pollution affects the ocean and beaches, and its effects on public health and safety: