Current Water Quality Information
Advisories and Closures: Week of May 23, 2016
Cowell Beach, west of the wharf, extending to the eastern edge of the Dream Inn, has E. coli and Enterococcus levels which exceed the safe body contact standard.
Capitola Beach, east and west of the jetty extending to the wharf, has elevated Enterococcus levels.
These areas have been posted with water quality advisory signs. Testing will continue and the warning signs will be maintained until bacteria levels fall to within safe body contact standards.
The Santa Cruz Harbor District is currently performing dredging operations to maintain the access channel to the harbor. These operations may from time to time affect Twin Lakes beach. More information may be found at the Harbor website here.
All other 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. For more information visit the California Department of Public Health here.
The most recent sample results, taken May 24, 2016, detected no toxin at the City of Watsonville boat launch ramp. (Detection limit is 1 part per billion [ug/L].)
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: