Local Information for South Bay, Los Angeles, California

The goal of the South Bay Chapter's Teach and Test Program is to raise awareness and improve ocean water quality in the South Bay area. The Chapter’s boundaries extend from San Pedro in the south to the Ballona Creek (wetlands) in the north.  Visit their chapter website here:

Throughout the school year, from October to May, students from 4 local High Schools: South, Redondo Union, Mira Costa and El Segundo, coordinate with dedicated Surfrider Activists (their trained Team Captain), to collect bi-weekly water samples from 13 South Bay beaches & as well as the Ballona Creek Wetlands (3 sample locations). The water samples are analyzed at the SEA Lab in Redondo Beach or the Environmental Lab at Loyola Maramount University with the oversight of an experienced lab technicians.  Download our Captain's Manual with best practises for sampling, lab work, and site specific information here.


This water testing program is sponsored by the West Basin Municipal Water District.  The District helps the Chapter pay for their water testing supplies and the students make field trips to a District wastewater treatment plant every year.  Press coverage of this partnership available here:


We’ve teamed up with the Redondo Union, Mira Costa HS, and Parras Middle School students and science teacher to conduct a Waste Characterization Study. Trash is collected at the beach where water samples are  taken, then sorted in the lab to determine where the trash came from (i.e. food wrappers, foam containers, bottles and sports items). The plan is to reduce the re-accumulation of trash on our beaches and eliminate litter at the source!

We also engage in program relevant field trips and interactive parties throughout the year to keep student interest high. At the end of the yearly program, students from each Teach & Test team present their findings and creative ways to improve local water quality conditions.



Beach closures continue to be a problem in our area, as demonstrated in the annual Testing the Waters  report published by NRDC.  Additionally, our government is dedicating less and less funding for beach water testing programs. That’s why this Teach and Test program is so important to monitor bacteria levels in our own backyard – at our beaches - and raise community awareness of local water pollution issues in our nearshore ocean environment.

Local contact:


South Bay Chapter Teach & Test presentation given at the West Coast Summit, September 29, 2012 in Ventura, CA:  download here.


Learn more about beach monitoring programs and water quality issues in California in the water quality section of Surfrider's State of the Beach, California State Report.  Links to county specific beach websites with water quality data and closures, postings, and advisories can also be accessed in the State of the Beach Report.


Another resource is the CA State summary of the NRDC's Testing the Waters Report.