Santa Cruz's Cowell Beach named top 'Beach Bummer'

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — A stretch of beach near the wharf in Santa Cruz has the dubious distinction of having the worst water quality on the West Coast, according to a new report.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/1lI6aww) that the advocacy group Heal the Bay placed Cowell Beach at the top of its annual "Beach Bummer" list.

In its Beach Report Card, Heal the Bay says 90 percent of weekly tests conducted on the beach last summer indicated bacteria levels higher than state standards. The beach has been on the infamous list for the past five years, taking the No. 2 spot in 2012 and 2013.

Heal the Bay acknowledged the city's efforts in recent years to identify a source of the pollution.

A city spokesman called the news disappointing but said officials are working to zero in on a cause.

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Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel, http://www.santacruzsentinel.com