News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 9 to 10 a.m.

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




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.
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.
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.
Patel stores the beach water samples in a cooler before bringing them back to the Environmental Monitoring Division lab at Hyperion Treatment Plant.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Patel notes the temperature of the water, the wind direction and weather condition at the beach.
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.
At the Environmental Monitoring Division lab in Hyperion Treatment Plant, Pravin Patel will mix the samples with a bacteria food solution.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


Listen to story

04:33
Download this story 2.0MB

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.