Bookmark and Share

Contact information and regional water quality websites

Please report water quality concerns to the Water Quality Laboratory at 831-454-4624 or the Environmental Health Office at 831-454-2022. Please contact the Laboratory if you observe evidence of an illicit discharge. Illnesses related to water exposure can be reported at this link. The County conducts follow-up investigations, as needed.

For questions about the monitoring program or iif you would like to arrange for water testing, please contact the Water Quality Laboratory at 831-454-4624. 

Regional water quality information is available at:





 Santa Cruz County Water Quality Status
Updated 01/13/2022

Santa Cruz County evaluates bacterial water quality at beaches and freshwater locations in accordance with State requirements. Data for each monitoring location can be viewed using the on-line map. Based on the most recent sampling (January 12th),  a TEMPORARY HEALTH ADVISORY is in effect for:

  • Main Beach (at San Lorenzo River)
  • Capitola Beach (at Soquel Creek).

Water quality was ACCEPTABLE at all other beaches monitored recently. During a health advisory, there is a risk of illness from direct exposure to contaminated water. It is recommended to avoid swimming, wading, and other direct contact water-sports when there is a health advisory or if beaches are closed.   Please be aware that water quality can deteriorate during and after rainfall, especially near river mouths and storm drains. 

 If you have questions about water quality within the County, please contact the water quality program.  

Santa Cruz County has permanently posted eight creeks and lagoons due to impaired water quality (listed from North to South):

  • Antonelli Pond
  • Moore Creek Lagoon
  • Neary Lagoon outfall at Cowell Beach 
  • San Lorenzo River mouth
  • Schwann Lagoon at Twin Lakes Beach
  • Soquel Creek mouth at Capitola Beach
  • Porter Gulch Creek at New Brighton Beach
  • Aptos Creek at Rio del Mar Beach












The County cyanobacterial toxin monitoring program uses a tiered approach to detect evidence of cyanobacterial blooms. The monitoring program focuses on shoreline testing of Pinto and Kelly Lakes and also various lagoons along the coast. Surveillance for cyanobacterial blooms is ongoing. Currently, there is no evidence of cyanobacterial toxins at any County monitoring locations. 

Please note that it is important to avoid swimming, wading, and other water-sports during a cyanobacterial bloom. When toxins are present, you could be inadvertently exposed to swallowing water, inhaling droplets, or direct skin contact. Cyanobacterial toxins can cause rashes, skin or eye irritations, stomach upsets, or other reactions.  Pets are also vulnerable to toxicity and should be restrained from entering the water or drinking from the shore if a bloom is present.  More information harmful algal blooms is available from



The California Environmental Protection Agency issued a FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORY for  fish from Pinto Lake to prevent potential exposure to mercury from the Lake sediments. The health advisory provides guidance on several types of fish including Black Bass, Carp, Goldfish, Sunfish, and Bullhead. 



Mussel Quarantine lifted through April 2022

The annual California Department of Public Health (CDPH) quarantine of sport-harvested mussels has been lifted until  May 1, 2022. The quarantine policy applies to all species of mussels that are recreationally harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries.

The quarantine season is intended to prevent exposure to the marine biotoxins that can be associated with mussels and clams who feed on plankton along the California coast. The consumption of shellfish may cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) or domoic acid poisoning.

Early symptoms of PSP include tingling of the lips and tongue, which may begin within minutes after eating toxic shellfish. These symptoms are typically followed by loss of balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur.

Additional information on shellfish advisories and quarantines is available here and also from CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133.