As steady rainfall descends on our fair Balboa Peninsula shores, the Environmental Health staff at the County of Orange Health Care Agency has issued the following rain advisory for swimmers (and by default, surfers):
The levels of bacteria can rise in ocean and bay waters adjacent to storm drains, creeks and rivers during and after rainstorms. The elevated levels of bacteria can continue for a period of at least three days depending upon the intensity of the rain and the volume of the runoff. Swimmers should avoid coastal waters impacted by discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers, and beach users should avoid contact with any runoff on the beach during dry or wet weather conditions.
For reference, here’s a map the agency released, with the yellow-ish dots indicating ocean water bacteria levels that exceed standards and may cause illness:
For more than 40 years, the County of Orange Health Care Agency and two local sanitation agencies (the Orange County Sanitation District and South Orange County Wastewater Authority) have been testing the coastal ocean, bay and harbor waters in Orange County for bacteria that indicate the possible presence of disease causing organisms. The results of the tests are reviewed by Health Care Agency Environmental Health staff, and if the data indicates a contamination, warning or closure signs are posted at the beach depending on the extent and cause of the contamination. Signs are posted at locations where contamination was detected so that beachgoers know exactly where it is not recommended to swim.
If you’re not at the beach but want to know the status of a particular shore, call the Beach Closure and Posting Hotline at (714) 433-6400 or visit ocbeachinfo.com.