Laguna Beach made it to national television on Aug. 7, but not on MTV. 

The city has been named a “Beach Buddy” by the Natural Resources Defense Council for the cleanliness of its beach waters — one of 13 beaches nationwide and the only one on the Pacific Coast to be so honored. 

NBC’s Today Show featured the designation in a story on the “Best (and worst) beaches in the U.S." 

The Natural Resources Defense Council is based in New York City. 


City officials found out about the honor when former a police chief called City Manager Ken Frank to say he had heard the story on television.

 Frank was elated by the designation.

“It’s a good day,” he said. “We’re the only city on the west coast that received this recognition, and the only one in a major metropolitan area, which is extraordinary. 

“This is the result of efforts of local groups cleaning up the beaches and prodding us to do the same, as well as our nuisance water diversion program and staff who clean up the storm drains. There are a lot of big efforts involved." 


Frank noted that the city has embarked on a 10-year plan to improve the city’s sewer system, after numerous sewage spills and beach closures in the 1990s prompted the EPA to levy fines. 

Some sewer lines have been replaced, others received new liners and various repairs.  

The city videotaped all the sewers to see what needed to be done. 

The same day the Today Show aired the story, the Laguna Beach City Council was expected to award a $1 million-plus contract to replace the aging North Coast Interceptor sewer line. 

The other “Beach Buddies” are in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine.

Two beaches in California were designated as “Beach Bums” for having the worst water in the nation — Avalon Beach in Catalina and Venice Beach in Los Angeles.

Other “worst” beaches are located in Maryland, New Jersey and Illinois.

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