Santa Barbra County officials announced Friday that Geosyntec Consultants will provide “guidance on options” to improve ocean water quality at Goleta Beach County Park following the Montecito debris flow cleanup effort.
Ocean waters at Goleta Beach remain closed because of elevated bacteria levels, including fecal coliform and enterococcus, according to the county. Nearly 40,000 cubic yards of debris was hauled to Goleta Beach from Jan. 11 to Feb. 20, according to a news release.
Geosyntec’s engineers work on water quality assessment, management and restoration.
“Ocean waters were expected to clear and have safe levels of bacteria within a few months of deposits ending,” the news release stated. “The clearing was contingent on many factors, including but not limited to weather, wave action and additional runoff from winter storms.”
Since early January, the county Public Health Department has tested Goleta Beach ocean waters twice a week at three locations, according to the county.
“While bacteria levels have reduced, spikes in levels of bacteria continue,” according to the news release. “The waters have not cleared as quickly as anticipated.”
According to the county, materials deposited met permitting requirements of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Coastal Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and materials were sorted to be free of large rocks, “woody material” and trash.
The Regional Water Quality Control Board mandated testing of materials as a component of permit conditions and deemed the sediment met standards for placement in the surf zone.
“To ensure the public is safe and will not become ill from high bacteria levels in the ocean, certain guidelines must be met through testing,” the news release stated. “Two consecutive ocean water tests must meet the California State Department of Public Health guidelines for these substances.”
Material also was deposited on Carpinteria State Beach, at Ash Avenue, after the Jan. 9 debris flow and flooding. Deposits stopped at the end of February, and ocean waters at the Carpinteria beach have “cleared,” according to the county.
— Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.