The Environmental Health Division of the Health Care Agency advises swimmers that levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, close to storm drains, and the outlets of creeks and rivers during and after rainstorms. The elevated bacterial levels in the coastal ocean waters may continue for a period of at least 3 days depending upon the intensity of the rain and volume of the runoff. Swimmers should avoid Orange County coastal waters during this time, and beach users should avoid contact with any runoff on the beach.
Storm drains, creeks, and rivers carry floodwaters and urban runoff to the ocean. Urban runoff may include fertilizers, road oils, animal wastes, and litter. During and after rain events, discharges may contain large amounts of bacteria from a variety of sources such as animal wastes and decomposing vegetation. Sewage is not normally present in the storm runoff since the sewer system is separate from the storm drain system. In the event of a sewage spill, the Environmental Health Division will quarantine the affected ocean or bay water area.
For information regarding Orange County ocean, bay, or harbor postings and closures, please call (714) 433-6400 or visit our website at ocbeachinfo.com. To report a sewage spill, please call 714-433-6419.
The article above was released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.