Current Water Quality Information
Advisories and Closures: Week of October 10, 2016
OCEAN AND STREAM WATERS CONTAMINATED DURING STORMS
Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Services recommends that people do not surf, swim, or dive near areas of storm drain outlets and rivers or creeks during and after periods of heavy rainfall. Runoff from rainfall flushes large amounts of bacteria, virus, and other contaminants into waterways and the ocean. This is especially true with the first major rains of the season or after long dry periods. Heavy rainfall and power outages can cause sewage overflows to creeks and the ocean, causing levels of bacteria to exceed safe body contact standards and indicate the possible presence of pathogens or other threats to human health.
Cloudy or turbid waters also indicate excessive runoff and should be avoided. Generally, coastal waters meet safe swimming standards unless there are rainfall events. Increased bacteria levels affect the near shore environment and return to levels that meet safe swimming standards approximately 3 days after rainfall stops.
All beaches tested this week met safe body contact standards.
THE FOLLOWING AREAS ARE PERMANENTLY POSTED BY THE COUNTY DUE TO ROUTINELY HIGH BACTERIA LEVELS:
Aptos Creek at Rio del Mar Beach
Porter Gulch Creek at New Brighton Beach
Soquel Creek mouth at Capitola Beach
Schwann Lagoon at Twin Lakes Beach
San Lorenzo River mouth
Neary Lagoon at Cowell Beach
THESE WATER BODIES AND ADJACENT AREAS GENERALLY CONTAIN BACTERIA LEVELS ABOVE SAFE BODY CONTACT STANDARDS AND ARE CONSIDERED UNSAFE FOR BODY CONTACT.
Annual Mussel Quarantine in Effect
The annual mussel quarantine, declared by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), began May 1, 2016. This quarantine applies to all species of mussels sport-harvested along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries.
This quarantine is intended to prevent paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning (DAP) in people who might otherwise consume sport-harvested mussels. Both of these toxins are linked to plankton consumed by filter-feeding animals such as bivalve shellfish, including mussels and clams. The majority of human cases of PSP illnesses occur between spring and fall.
This quarantine does not apply to commercially harvested shellfish.
More information about the quarantine, PSP and DAP can be found on the CDPH Annual Mussel Quarantine - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Web page.
For updated information on quarantines and shellfish toxins call the CDPH Biotoxin Information Line (1-800-553-4133).
PINTO & KELLY LAKES ADVISORY
Pinto and Kelly Lakes are subject to blooms of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). Cyanobacters such as microcystis are known to produce toxins, exposure to which can cause rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, gastrointestinal upset, and other effects. At high levels, exposure can result in serious illness or death. Exposure may occur by ingestion, dermal contact or inhalation. Avoid body contact with blue-green algal blooms. This includes swimming, wading and water-skiing. Also do not allow your pets to enter the water. For more information visit the California Department of Public Health here.
The most recent sample results, taken October 20, 2016 by the City of Watsonville detected microcystins toxin levels greater than 20 parts per billion (ppb) at the City of Watsonville boat launch ramp at Pinto Lake (detection limit is 1 part per billion [ppb]). The dock will be cordoned off and remain cordoned off until toxin levels drop below 10 ppb.
Other samples taken by the County of Santa Cruz on October 14, 2016 showed: >20 ppb at Kelly Lake, >20 ppb at the Villas del Paraiso dock, >20 ppb at the County dock, <1 ppb at Disc Basket #14 and >20 ppb at the kayak haul-out next to the County dock.
The County of Santa Cruz Environmental Health Service provides water quality information to concerned swimmers to alert them to areas that may be contaminated by fecal indicator bacteria. You may listen to the latest water quality updates by dialing (831) 454-3188 and listening to the menu to find information about fresh water lagoons and ocean beaches. Click here for Recreational Water Quality Monitoring information.
For clarification of methods and interpretation of results please contact John Ricker at (831) 454-2750 or email at John.Ricker@santacruzcounty.us.
If you believe you may have been exposed to illness through water contact, please fill out an Illness Report.
To be added to or removed from the e-mail distribution list for current water quality data reports, e-mail Env.Hlth@santacruzcounty.us with the words: "Please add me to the e-mail distribution list.", in the subject line.
Other websites for further information: