Exploring San Diego


STUDY: 15 San Diego County beaches ranked the cleanest

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Posted at 12:03 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 15:14:49-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Fifteen beach areas across San Diego County offered fantastic conditions for swimmers, while Baja California's Playa Blanca and the Tijuana Slough were ranked as two of the most polluted beaches in the region, according to Heal the Bay's annual report Wednesday.

The nonprofit assigned letter grades to 500 beaches across the state. Grades were based on the levels of fecal-indicator bacterial pollution in the ocean, as measured by county health agencies.

Heal the Bay's Beach Report Card included 15 beaches in San Diego County on its "Honor Roll List" for perfect water quality grades.

The local beaches that made the Honor Roll were:

  • Del Mar, at 15th Street
  • Carlsbad, at Tamarack Ave.
  • Carlsbad, at Poinsettia Lane
  • Carlsbad, at Encina Creek
  • Carlsbad, at Palomar Airport Rd.
  • Carlsbad, at Cerezo Drive
  • Oceanside, at Forster Street
  • Oceanside, Harbor Beach at Harbor Drive
  • Point Loma, Lighthouse
  • Point Loma, Point Loma Treatment Plant
  • Sunset Cliffs, at Ladera Street
  • Mission Beach, Belmont Park
  • La Jolla Shores Beach, 1000 ft south of Scripps Pier
  • La Jolla Shores Beach, 250 feet south of Scripps Pier
  • La Jolla Shores Beach, 500 feet north of Scripps Pier

San Diego County had the second-most beaches make the Honor Roll, trailing only Orange County.

Playa Blanca in Baja California, as well as the Tijuana Slough north of the Tijuana River Mouth, were both listed on the organization's Beach Bummer List, which ranks the most polluted beaches based on levels of harmful bacteria in the ocean.

Both areas are monitored by San Diego County and impacted by sewage- contaminated runoff originating from Tijuana, according to Heal the Bay.

The report card noted that "impaired and insufficient sewage infrastructure in the city of Tijuana" contributed to millions of gallons of sewage pouring into the Tijuana River and Pacific Ocean. The report also indicated partially treated sewage from the Punta Bandera treatment plant flows north to impact beaches in the border region.

The full report card can be viewed online here.