Current Water Quality Information
Advisories and Closures: Week of October 5, 2015
All beaches tested this week met safe body contact standards.
The San Lorenzo River, at the Big Trees entrance to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, remains posted with advisories due to elevated E. coli levels.
The San Lorenzo River at Highlands Park, downstream of the tennis courts, also has elevated E. coli levels. Entry points to the area have been posted with advisory signs.
A blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom is currently in progress in the San Lorenzo River, extending from the lagoon at the mouth to the vicinity of the Water Street bridge. 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.
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
Schwan 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.
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.
A blue-green algae bloom is currently underway at Pinto Lake. The most recent sample results, taken October 1, 2015, show microcystins toxin detected, at 0.5 parts per billion (ppb). (Detection limit is 0.5 parts per billion [ug/L].)
Mussel Quarantine in Effect
The annual mussel quarantine is in effect. The annual quarantine applies to sport-harvested mussels for the entire California coast, including all bays and estuaries. This quarantine period, from May 1st through October 31st, is based on the potential for red tides during these months. Each year, Santa Cruz County experiences several red tides, some of which can turn shellfish meats toxic. Sport harvesters should call the Biotoxin Information Line at 1-800-553-4133 for the current status of all quarantines and health advisories before harvesting and consuming shellfish. This quarantine does not apply to commercial shellfish purchased in stores and restaurants.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued an additional advisory due to elevated levels of domoic acid in Monterey Bay. This advisory warns consumers not to eat recreationally harvested mussels and clams, commercially or recreationally caught anchovy and sardines, or the internal organs of commercially or recreationally caught crab taken from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.
Dangerous levels of domoic acid, which can lead to Amnesic shellfish poisoning if ingested, have been detected in some of these species and are also likely to be present in the other species. Molluscan bivalve shellfish, anchovy and sardines are especially of concern because the toxin resides in their digestive tract and these seafood products are normally not eviscerated prior to consumption.
CDPH is continuing to collect a variety of molluscan bivalve shellfish, fin fish and crab samples from the area to monitor the level of domoic acid.
More information may be found at this link:
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 Dave 'pH' Steinbruner at (831) 454-2739 or email at email@example.com.
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: