Bay Area Beaches Receive Failing Grade

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Baker Beach

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The annual beach report card has been released and while most in the Bay Area received high marks, there are a few that made the Beach Bummer list.

The environmental non-profit Heal the Bay releases the report each year, testing the quality of the water on beaches in California, Oregon and Washington.

“There are all sorts of health risks. You can get a skin infection, ear infection, eye infection,” said Amanda Griesbach with Heal the Bay. “But the most common is a gastrointestinal infection.”

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Griesbach said in the Bay Area, Candlestick Point and Pillar Point Harbor in San Mateo were among those that got D’s for having high bacteria levels. Among the F’s were Keller Beach in Point Richmond and Baker Beach at Lobos Creek in San Francisco, which also made the organization’s Beach Bummer list.

“That’s an area that the creek actually takes all the water from the single watershed and it drains all the water in the area,” she said about Baker Beach.

Deb Self with San Francisco Baykeeper, a pollution watchdog for the San Francisco Bay, said ocean beaches scored better, mainly because the Bay got nearly a quarter billion gallons of raw or undertreated sewage from October through April.

“That’s 240 million gallons of raw or partially treated sewage going into the Bay,” Self said. “Most of this comes from the Bay Area’s dilapidated infrastructure, the sewage collection pipes, which are in very bad shape.”

All county health departments are required to test beach water quality samples for three types of indicator bacteria at least once a week. Heal the Bay then compiles the data, analyzes it and assigns it a letter grade.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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