Public advised to avoid ocean water contact during, after storms
Rainstorm runoff is known to transport high levels of disease-causing organisms
– The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department is advising the public to avoid ocean water contact during, and at least three days following, significant rainstorms—such as the recent storm. Some areas of the county already received over an inch of rain and several additional inches of rain are expected in the coming days.
Rainstorm runoff is known to transport high levels of disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa from the watershed and urban areas to the ocean. Such organisms carried into the ocean can cause skin, respiratory, and intestinal problems. Contact with this runoff while swimming or surfing may increase the risk for certain types of illnesses such as rashes, fever, chills, ear infections, vomiting, and diarrhea. Young children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to these waterborne pathogens.
Surfers, swimmers and others are advised to avoid contact with ocean water during this period, especially in areas close to creeks, rivers, storm drains and other runoff outlets that empty into the ocean.
Anyone who inadvertently has contact with ocean water during a rain advisory should monitor for symptoms and contact their doctor if symptoms persist or are moderate to severe.
For more information about beach water quality, please visit the Public Health Department Beach Water Quality website at www.SurfSafeSLO.org, or call the Ocean Water Monitoring Program Telephone Hotline at (805) 788-3411.