O.C. beaches get high health marks

Memorial Day weekend beachgoers are likely to enjoy a clean shoreline in most of Orange County, according to Heal the Bay's annual Beach Report Card.

The county received A and B grades at 94% of its beaches during summer dry weather (April through October) and 87% of beaches during winter dry weather (November through March), according to the study by the Santa Monica-based environmental nonprofit.

However, Poche Beach in San Clemente and Doheny State Beach both made the "Beach Bummer" report card with F grades.

The A-F letter grades are earned based on reported levels of bacterial pollution. Beaches with a high grade consistently showed lower levels of bacteria associated with causing stomach flu, ear and eye infections, upper respiratory infections and rashes.

Orange County had four sewage spills that closed beaches last year. A spill that was about 10,000 gallons on May 12, 2011, closed Three Arch Bay in Laguna Beach for two days. The following month, a 55,000-gallon spill closed beaches in Newport Beach for three days.

Popular spots at the Balboa Pier, Newport Bay, Newport Dunes, Corona del Mar and Crystal Cove all received A or B grades.

Huntington City Beach and Laguna Beach, from Bluebird Canyon to Three Arch Bay, also received A or B grades.

More locations and weekly grades can be found at brc.healthebay.org.

— Sarah Peters

Twitter: @speters01

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