Improving water quality through California’s Clean Beach Initiative: an assessment of 17 projects

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California’s Clean Beach Initiative (CBI) funds projects to reduce loads of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) impacting beaches, thus providing an opportunity to judge the effectiveness of various CBI water pollution control strategies. Seventeen initial projects were selected for assessment to determine their effectiveness on reducing FIB in the receiving waters along beaches nearest to the projects. Control strategies included low-flow diversions, sterilization facilities, sewer improvements, pier best management practices (BMPs), vegetative swales, and enclosed beach BMPs. Assessments were based on statistical changes in pre- and postproject mean densities of FIB at shoreline monitoring stations targeted by the projects. Most low-flow diversions and the wetland swale project were effective in removing all contaminated runoff from beaches. UV sterilization was effective when coupled with pretreatment filtration and where effluent was released within a few hundred meters of the beach to avoid FIB regrowth. Other BMPs were less effective because they treated only a portion of contaminant sources impacting their target beach. These findings should be useful to other coastal states and agencies faced with similar pollution control problems.

Recommended Citation

Dorsey, J.H. (2010). Improving water quality through California's Clean Beach Initiative: an assessment of 17 projects. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 166: 95-111.