A 5,000-gallon raw sewage spill was reported in Santa Barbara on Monday night and the Public Health Department closed West Beach.

The untreated sewage spill was from a storm drain discharging to Mission Creek near Vernon and Serena roads in Santa Barbara, which is near the upper De la Vina Street corridor, according to the county.

Signs have been posted to warn people to avoid contact with the ocean in the West Beach area, from Santa Barbara Harbor to 2,000 feet east of the Mission Creek outfall.

“In addition, with the continuing heavy rainfall, Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services wants to remind residents about potential health risks associated with storm water runoff at countywide beaches. Storm water is untreated rain water that flows through the drain system into creeks, the ocean, and other waterways. Contact with storm water while swimming or surfing may increase the risk for certain types of illnesses such as rashes, fever, chills, ear infections, vomiting, and diarrhea.

“Unlike the municipal sewer system, water carried by a storm drain system is not treated. To minimize potential health risks, it is recommended that people do not swim, play or surf in the ocean and creeks for at least three days following a rain event. Beachgoers should also avoid areas near the outfall from drainpipes and creeks that enter the ocean following a rain event as storm water runoff may carry high levels of bacteria and pollutants.”

The city of Santa Barbara warned people earlier Monday that manhole covers on the streets “can be blown off due to high pressure being generated from the storm water and may cause extreme danger. In particular anything south of Canon Perdido to the ocean, there is a high risk.”

Residents are advised to avoid flooded roadways and flooded areas, and to stay home as much as possible to avoid travel during the storm.

MTD Temporarily Stops Bus Service

The Metropolitan Transit District said it would stop all bus service at 6 p.m. Monday until around noon Tuesday due to the storm.

The timing to restart service depends on the weather, condition of the roads and availability of the workforce, since some of them commute in from areas beyond the highway closures, MTD spokeswoman Hillary Blackerby said.

MTD restarted bus service on a modified schedule around noon Tuesday.

Some other public transportation bus lines were already canceled due to weather, including the Coastal Express, and Amtrak stopped the Pacific Surfliner passenger train routes north of Los Angeles on Monday.

Check for storm-related updates on evacuation orders, road closures, school closures and weather forecasts here.

An evacuation shelter is open at the SBCC Wake Center at 300 N. Turnpike Road for anyone who needs it, and additional shelters may be opening Monday night, according to the County Office of Emergency Management.

For evacuation center assistance and additional information, contact the Santa Barbara County Call Center at 833.688.5551 or call 2-1-1.

Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com.