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Huntington earns As in annual water quality report card

City officials say the goal is safety for residents and visitors at local beaches.

October 05, 2011|By Mona Shadia

Huntington Beach earned straight As in water quality from Heal the Bay's annual report card, thanks to ongoing efforts to keep the water clean, city officials said this week.

The Santa Monica-based nonprofit, which monitors bacteria levels at 447 California locations, gave high marks for most beaches from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Water quality overall was lower this summer, but Huntington Beach was still among 94% of Orange County beaches with A grades.

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"I think it's great," Councilwoman Connie Boardman said. "Water quality is important to everyone in the city, and we want visitors and residents to be safe when they go to the beach."

For the past 10 years, Huntington Beach has been implementing various programs and techniques in order to keep the water quality high, including repairing, replacing and lining sewer lines on regular basis, Director of Public Works Travis Hopkins said.

The city also films sewage lines to find areas in need of repair, diverts urban runoff into sewers for treatment during dry seasons, and has installed pollutant-removing devices in the storm drain system, he said.

City staff members are also always looking for grants to keep the water clean. The city received $30,000 from the Orange County Transportation Authority this year to install screens on catch basins to prevent trash from going into the storm drains.

"We're very happy with those As and we've come to expect those, but we also realize that there are other things we can do better," Hopkins said.

Improvements were also seen in neighboring Newport Beach, which logged straight As.

mona.shadia@latimes.com

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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