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Newport officials: Water report all wet

National group's findings that three spots in the city have poor water quality are misleading, they say.

August 03, 2006|By Alicia Robinson

Newport Beach officials are taking issue with a new report from an environmental group that criticizes beach water quality at several local spots.

The Natural Resources Defense Council on Thursday announced record high levels of beach closings and warnings in 2005 because of water-quality problems nationwide. While closures and warnings in California were up 25% last year compared with 2004, Orange County test spots showed a 33% decrease in problem levels of bacteria.

Because of the data, the council named three Newport spots to the list of “beach bums,” where water quality violated federal standards at least half of the times it was tested: Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Bay and Buck Gully.


But Newport Beach Assistant City Manager Dave Kiff argued the report is misleading, because many of the test locations were storm drains and creeks that don’t flow to the ocean.

“They weren’t even looking at recreational waterways,” Kiff said. “Their point is OK, that this is runoff and it brings pollution into the waterways. But to me what really matters is are the waterways themselves clean, and ours are — remarkably clean.”

In 2004 the Natural Resources Defense Council named Newport Beach a “beach buddy” for its proactive efforts to keep its coastal waters clean.

To view the council’s report, visit

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