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Richmond's Keller's Beach Gets Poor Water Quality Rating

In a study by “Heal the Bay,” Richmond’s Keller’s Beach “fared the worst among East Bay beaches.” Keller’s Beach is located in Miller Knox Regional Shoreline and is administered by the East Bay Regional Parks District. It is not clear how the study differentiated among portions of the rather small beach, but the south and mid-beach portions received a “C” grade while the north portion received an “F.” The fact that the study divided the small (maybe 300 foot long) beach into three sections may indicate that what it termed “Keller Beach” is something entirely different from what we know as Keller’s Beach.

Anyway, here is the article with hyperlinks to the actual study:

Most Bay Area beaches score high marks

By Aaron Kinney
San Mateo County Times

Posted: 05/20/2009 04:25:54 PM PDT

Updated: 05/20/2009 05:16:19 PM PDT


Click photo to enlarge


Three-year-old Kyle Vanwinkle, of Hercules, carries a bucket of water he scooped out of the bay...

May 20:

Most Bay Area beaches had good to excellent water quality last year in terms of bacteria levels, according to an annual Beach Report Card issued by Heal the Bay.

"The Bay Area during dry weather was basically a fantastic place to be swimming," said James Alamillo, a spokesman for Heal the Bay, a clean-water advocacy group based in Santa Monica.

In San Mateo County, all 11 beaches that are monitored year-round received grades of A or A-plus during dry conditions, when bacterial levels are typically low. Most contamination occurs during winter, when heavy rains overload storm drains and sewage systems, washing pollutants into the sea.

During wet conditions, only five out of those 11 beaches scored a B or better. Three beaches scored an F: Linda Mar Beach at San Pedro Creek in Pacifica; Pillar Point Harbor at the end of Westpoint Avenue in Princeton-by-the-Sea; and Venice Beach at Frenchman's Creek in Half Moon Bay.

Among 25 San Mateo County beaches that were monitored from April to October, which is considered prime swimming season, only one beach scored worse than a B: Lakeshore Park in San Mateo, which received a D.

Heal the Bay analyzed for bacterial levels water samples taken from April 2008 through March 2009 from 502 locations on the coast. Swimming in such waters can cause gastrointestinal problems and other illnesses.

In Alameda and Contra Costa counties, seven of 10 beaches monitored received A's or better for the period from April to October. All 10 rated a B or better during wet conditions, with Alameda Point scoring an A-plus and Crown Beach in Alameda receiving an A-plus at three of five monitoring stations.

Keller Beach in Richmond fared the worst among East Bay beaches. The northern portion of the beach scored a D from April to October, while the middle and southern stretches received a C.

Keller Beach was actually healthier during wet conditions than it was during dry conditions, receiving an A and two B's, according to the report.

Alamillo speculated that the beach wasn't getting "adequately flushed" of dirty water during dry conditions. Storm activity may help clean the area by bringing cleaner water toward the beach, he said.

Low bacterial levels do not guarantee that water is completely safe, Alamillo said. Heal the Bay's report does not measure toxins and chemical pollutants.

Tight budgets have prompted some California counties to stop testing beaches for bacterial pollution, according to Heal the Bay.

Ventura County stopped testing in October, and Sonoma County won't monitor bacteria levels this summer, Grimmer said. Santa Barbara County, which also stopped testing, relied on a nonprofit to gather samples through the winter for the study.

As in previous years, most of the California coastline earned top marks for water quality. However, some of the most popular beaches had uneven scores, with sites in Los Angeles County posting the worst grades for the fourth straight year.

Avalon Harbor Beach on Catalina Island was the most polluted site. It was followed by Cabrillo Beach harborside and the Pismo Beach Pier.

To view this year's Beach Report Card, visit www.healthebay.org.

Wire reports contributed to this story. Reach Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357 or akinney@bayareanewsgroup.com.