Among the most popular American beaches, the cleanest California waters break on 38th Street beach on the Balboa Peninsula, a new study has found.
The Newport Beach location was the only one in California to qualify for a list of 35 "Superstar Beaches" identified by the Natural Resources Defense Council in its "Testing the Waters 2014" report.
To identify the superstars, the agency considered hundreds of popular beaches, according to the report.
Those recognized did not exceed the previous national standard between 2009 and 2012 by more than 2%, the NRDC reported.
They also did not exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's Beach Action Value, also a water quality indicator, by more than 2% in 2013, according to the report.
None of the 50 water samples taken from the 38th Street beach in 2013 exceeded the BAV.
Areas along Newport Bay — at 19th Street, Bayshore Beach, Lancaster/62nd Street, Park Avenue, Promontory Point, Rocky Point and Via Genoa — also came in at 0% of samples above the BAV. The Wedge received a clean bill of health too.
By contrast, of 52 samples from the Newport Boulevard Bridge in Newport Bay, 44% exceeded the BAV. Little Corona, Bayside Drive beach and the bayside of 33rd Street also ranked poorly, with 21% of 43 samples, 13% of 56 samples and 14% of 57 samples measuring above BAV.
Other superstar beaches included Gulf Shores Public Beach in Alabama, Wailea Beach Park in Hawaii and Wallis Sands State Park in New Hampshire.
The only other West Coast beach to appear on the list was Westhaven State Park, South Jetty, in Washington.
Overall, California ranked 11th of 30 states for beach water quality, with 9% of samples measuring above the BAV for designated beaches in 2013, according to the report.