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Newport's Beaches Score High Marks from Heal the Bay

While Orange County beaches generally fared well, two local beaches are among the state's dirtiest, according to Heal the Bay.

Go ahead, take a swim. The water's fine.

Newport's beaches scored "A" and "B" grades on environmental group Heal the Bay's 2010-11 beach report card released Wednesday.

The grades, which are for beach conditions during dry weather, are based on continuous monitoring of bacteria levels in the water, according to Heal the Bay. An "A" grade means water quality is excellent; a "B" grade means it is very good. During wet weather, water quality generally diminishes because of storm runoff that shuttles more bacteria into the ocean.

While some 96 percent of Orange County beaches received "A" and "B" grades, two local beaches are on Heal the Bay's Top 10 Beach Bummers list. Poche Beach in San Clemente and Doheny Beach in Dana Point are listed as the fifth and sixth dirtiest beaches in California.

The high levels of bacteria can cause flu, ear infections and major skin rashes, among other problems, Heal the Bay said.

Go to Heal the Bay's report card website to check out the grades.

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