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High Levels of Bacteria Detected at 15 Santa Barbara County Beaches

High levels of bacteria have been found at 15 county beaches, including Arroyo Burro Beach County Park, where the Arroyo Burro Creek flows into the ocean. Click to view larger
High levels of bacteria have been found at 15 county beaches, including Arroyo Burro Beach County Park, where the Arroyo Burro Creek flows into the ocean.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Elevated levels of bacteria have been detected at 15 Santa Barbara County beaches this week, and public health officials are cautioning beach-goers to stay out of the water.

Tests show higher-than-usual state safety levels of bacteria lurking in coastlines, waters adjacent to storm drains, creeks and rivers.

“These are advisories, (and) the beaches are not closed,” said David Brummond, a supervisor of Environmental Heath with the County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department. “The results are not surprising after the rain event.”

The beach at Arroyo Burro and East Beach at Mission Creek recorded the highest bacteria levels, Brummond said.

Heath officials found the bacteria called total coliforms, fecal coliforms and enterococcus, Brummond said.

Public health officials are urging people to stay a minimum of 50 yards away from creek mouths and storm drains. 

Studies show post-storm waters can cause for illness, skin rashes, diarrhea, ear infections, sinus infections in people and other unhealthful conditions.

“Stay out of the water if it looks discolored or dirty,” Brummond said.

On Tuesday, health officials reported high bacteria levels at:

» Arroyo Burro Beach

» Butterfly Beach

» Carpinteria State Beach

» East Beach at Mission Creek

» East Beach at Sycamore Creek

» El Capitan State Beach

» Gaviota State Beach

» Goleta Beach

» Guadalupe Dunes

» Hammonds Beach

» Hope Ranch Beach

» Jalama Beach

» Leadbetter Beach

» Refugio State Beach

» Summerland Beach

Brummond said the coastlines would be tested again on Thursday, and results are expected Friday.

“If the water meets standards, the warning status will be lifted,” Brummond said. “If not, the beach will remain on warning status until the water quality improves.”

The county advises people avoid swimming in the ocean for 72 hours following a rainfall event.

The county’s Environmental Health Services Department conducts ocean water testing, and weekly results can be found by clicking here or by calling the ocean water quality hotline at 805.681.4949.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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