Current Water Quality Information
Advisories and Closures: Week of December 4, 2017
Rainfall runoff from storm drains, creeks or rivers may contain high levels of disease-causing bacteria and viruses. These areas should be avoided for at least three days following significant rainfall.
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.
Mussel Quarantine Partially Lifted
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer have LIFTED the annual quarantine on mussels gathered by sport harvesters for all of California except of Sonoma County, where testing shows that toxin levels remain high. The quarantine is declared due to the possibility of Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). PSP is a form of nervous system poisoning caused by consuming shellfish which have bio-accumulated toxins from various microscopic ocean flora. Concentrated levels of the toxins can develop in mussels and other bivalve shellfish when they feed on certain naturally occurring marine plankton.
The annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels, typically runs May 1 through October 31 and is intended to protect the public from shellfish poisoning caused by marine biotoxins.
The most current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines is available by calling CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page.
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 November 30th, 2017 by the County of Santa Cruz, detected microcystin toxin at Villas del Paraiso dock at 1 parts per billion (ppb), at Kelly Lake at a concentration of 1 ppb, and at the County fishing dock at 5 ppb. Humans and pets are advised to avoid body contact at areas with any detectable concentration.
The City of Watsonville has closed access to the boat ramp at the Pinto Lake City Park due to the large concentration of algal scum that has accumulated. Microcystin levels at the boat launch are in excess of 20 ppb. Humans and pets must avoid body contact. Latest samples taken November 20 by the City of Watsonville confirm high levels of toxin.
For more information on microcystin and other harmful algal blooms please consult the following EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/health-and-ecological-effects
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 water quality e-mail distribution list.", in the subject line.
Other websites for further information: