SANTA MONICA (CBS) — For many Southland beachgoers, a day at the beach is often spent swimming in sewage, according to a new national report released Wednesday.

But despite the numbers, KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports tourists are still willing to travel thousands of miles to visit the waters along the Southern California coastline.

The “Testing the Waters” report (PDF) from the Natural Resources Defense Council ranked California 21st in beach water cleanliness out of 30 states surveyed, with the state accounting for 25 percent of all beach closure days nationwide.

Two local beaches — Avalon Beach in Catalina and Doheny Beach at Dana Point — made the “Repeat Offenders” list for closures and health advisories due to storm runoff and sewage.

Avalon Beach in particular was found to have 72 percent of water samples exceeding state standards in waters 50 feet west of the Green Pleasure Pier.

While the vast majority — 94 percent — of closing and advisory days were due to “unknown contamination sources”, the NRDC also acknowledged that the number of closures at beaches in Los Angeles County went underreported, with 25 missing closing and advisory days discovered at four beaches.

But for tourists like Arian Egly and her daughter Maxi who traveled all the way from Switzerland to swim in the waters along Santa Monica Beach, pollution was the least of their worries.

“I’m really scared of fishes and everything, so I’m not sure if it’s clean,” said Egly. “I hope it is.”


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