Take Two for August 13, 2013

Beachcombing: 'Beach Runners' keep California's shores free of nasty bacteria (photos)

Beach Water Quality Tester - 1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Pravin Patel, a lab technician in the Environmental Monitoring Division for Los Angeles County, takes samples of the beach water in Marina del Rey on Monday, Aug. 5.

Beach Water Quality Tester - 2

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Patel stores the beach water samples in a cooler before bringing them back to the Environmental Monitoring Division lab at Hyperion Treatment Plant.

Beach Water Quality Tester - 3

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Lab Technician Pravin Patel takes four different samples from four different areas of Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey. Patel and other Environmental Monitoring Division technicians test the water from Long Beach to Malibu.

Beach Water Quality Tester - 4

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Patel uses a long metal rod with a container attached to gather samples of beach water. He's been doing this for the Environmental Monitoring Division for ten years.

Beach Water Quality Tester - 5

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Patel notes the temperature of the water, the wind direction and weather condition at the beach.

Beach Water Quality Tester - 6

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

At the Environmental Monitoring Division lab in Hyperion Treatment Plant, Pravin Patel will mix the samples with a bacteria food solution.

Beach Water Quality Tester - 7

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Patel pours the lab's clean water into containers, which will be mixed with bacteria food and the water from Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey.

Beach Water Quality Tester - 9

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Patel holds samples of beach water that have incubated for an 18 to 14 hour period. Most bacteria they find is not harmful to beach goers. Patel estimates that a beach is closed because of a spill or other contamination one to two times each year.

Grab your shades and sandals. It's time for another installment of KPCC's Beach Combing series, where we look at issues facing our waters and shores.

Today, some good news. Over the last decade, the water quality at California's beaches has improved dramatically. KPCC's Science Reporter Sanden Totten tells us that's in large part thanks to better monitoring.

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