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3 SoCal Beaches Among the Most Polluted in the State: Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card

Three Southern California beaches are among the 10 most polluted in the state, including one that has the dubious distinction of being at the bottom of the list, according to an annual report released Thursday.

Hundreds of people seek relief from a hot July day alongside the Santa Monica Pier. The beach there has consistently logged one of the poorest water-quality marks in California. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Hundreds of people seek relief from a hot July day alongside the Santa Monica Pier. The beach there has consistently logged one of the poorest water-quality marks in California. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Heal the Bay’s 28th annual Beach Report Card included the Beach Bummer List, which alerts beachgoers to coastal areas of elevated pollution and bacteria.

At the very bottom is Poche Beach in San Clemente, which the organization considers “the single most polluted beach in the state.”

Also included in the list of the most polluted beaches is Santa Monica Pier and the harbor side of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.

The report stated that swimming at beaches with low water quality could result in illnesses such as stomach flu, ear infections, rashes and upper respiratory infections.

Still, Southern California's beaches have improved overall since last year's report due to a lack of rain, said Shelley Luce, Heal the Bay's president.

The majority of the 94 monitored beaches in Los Angeles County -- 97 percent -- received A or B grades, according to the report.

In Orange County, 94 percent of the 121 monitored beaches scored an A grade. And in Ventura, all of the 40 monitored beaches received perfect scores.

The reason that lack of rain helps beach conditions improve is because precipitation washes billions of gallons of bacteria—from pet waste to automotive fluids—onto the state’s shoreline, according to the report.

Luce said that while the upcoming dry weather will help keep beaches cleaner, people can't be “complacent” and must always plan for rainy days.