A kayaker sets out from Goleta Beach on Saturday morning. The water off the beach has been reopened to recreational use after testing found levels of bacteria had dropped to acceptable standards. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

It is now safe to go in the ocean at Goleta Beach.

After a six-month closure due to eleveated levels of bacteria, Santa Barbara County officials reopened the beach late Friday.

The beach is now on a “warning” status. Two consecutive tests for bacterial levels at three sampling sites at the beach have met state standards.

The ocean waters at Goleta Beach have been closed since January due to increased presence of bacteria.

After the deadly Jan. 9 Montecito flash flooding and debris flows, thousands of truck loads of Montecito mud were dumped on the shore at Goleta Beach Park, along Highway 101 in Goleta and at various other sites throughout the county as crews worked to clear roadways, creek beds and debris basins.

The ocean waters were closed because testing showed fecal bacteria levels significantly exceeded standards.

In addition, the mud and runoff from the January storm contained unknown amounts of untreated sewage and chemical contaminants.

“We have been diligently testing and monitoring ocean water to ensure the safety of everyone who uses ocean water recreationally,” said Van Do-Reynoso, director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

“Our mission is to protect and ensure the health of our community, and for that reason continuous and extensive ocean water monitoring has been carried out. We are very happy to have these ocean waters open for community access and we appreciate the community’s patience during the closure.”

Despite the reopening, it appeared that beachgoers were reluctant to enter the water early Saturday.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at