Patterico's Pontifications


Stinky Beaches

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:46 am

L.A. Observed cites a study that says the sand at some local beaches is, as Kevin Roderick puts it, “an incubator for the microbes that reach the Pacific through urban runoff and sewage releases”:

Researchers found the worst offenders were the sheltered side of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey, Santa Monica Beach near the pier and Topanga Beach in Malibu. Sheltered or enclosed beaches showed persistent elevated levels of bacteria…Health officials have long known that microbes, mainly E. coli and enterococci bacteria found in fecal material, can reach harmful levels in ocean water. Urban runoff from city streets, farms and industries carries a witches’ brew of pollutants that are concentrated to unhealthful levels around storm drains and river mouths. The new study, to be published in the forthcoming issue of the journal Water Research, adds to a growing body of evidence that health risks extend to the shore. “People haven’t looked at the sand until recently,” said Alexis Strauss, director of the water division for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Our urban existence yields bacteria year-round.”

I can’t speak for Topanga Beach, but as to the others, The Nose Knows. Anyone who has been to these beaches has probably smelled the sewage smell.

Ah, L.A.

3 Responses to “Stinky Beaches”

  1. The average whale defecates 3 thousand pounds a day. And fishes do not leave the water to defecate, either.
    Any expectation that water in nature will be pure is arrant nonsense.

    Walter E. Wallis (7ea451)

  2. commenter #1 gets a thankyou for that red herring, whether pollyanna naif or industry tool. the relative effect of human activities on nature compared to the effect of all the other species is well-known to average, intelligent children. the whales and fish are not responsible for the “witches’ brew of pollutants” and their feces in turn nourish smaller organisms.
    i am a native of pacific palisades, but i haven’t frequented southern california beaches since the early ’70’s, when there would be occasional health alerts but not much public consciousness. back then the ocean seemed vast enough to absorb the doings of the people and dogs on the beach and the cars that brought them there.
    quality of life equals available resources divided by the number of people competing for them. the numerator is diminishing steadily in the non-sustainable resources category, while the denominator continues to grow. your grandchildren will be surfing in a toilet.
    i have a question for beach aficionados: my youngest brother tells a story which i’m not sure is actually true. he says that three or four times a year right after a big rain in los angeles, a lot of things will wash down the storm drains into the ocean, including u.s. currency which accidentally made its way into gutters, and that there are several places where paper flotsam collects in eddies right offshore and for a brief time, you can paddle out on a board and skim one to two hundred bucks an hour right out of the water. i’ve never observed this phenomenon and am having my doubts. true or false?

    assistant devil's advocate (d3d78f)

  3. What did the beach smell like before man settled the area? I bet it smelled like crap then, too.

    Wesson (c20d28)

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