South Bay beachgoers were met with unexpected yellow “High Bacteria” signs in the three beach cities and Palos Verdes, indicating a spike in bacterial levels surpassing state standards. The Los Angeles County Health authorities have urgently advised the public to refrain from water-based activities such as swimming, surfing, and playing as these heightened bacteria levels could lead to potential illnesses.
Despite the alarming warnings, the beaches notably remain open. The health department maintains that the current threat level does not necessitate closure, an action typically marked by red warning signs and triggered by severe events such as a sewage spill. The advisory comes as the county grapples concurrently with a heat advisory, potentially worsening the situation and enticing locals to seek relief in the ocean.
While the precise cause of this sudden bacterial bloom remains unconfirmed, officials speculate that contamination from storm drains, creeks, and rivers, particularly following rainstorms, might be the source of the problem. The advisory significantly affects vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals who are more susceptible to illness from bacteria-rich waters.
Beaches impacted stretch from Redondo to Palos Verdes, with bacteria-riddled waters extending 100 yards up and down the beach from identified points such as storm drains or piers. Yellow warning signs have been posted at Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and throughout the entire swim area of Bluff Cove in Palos Verdes.
Authorities urge both residents and visitors to stay informed via the County hotline or the LA County Department of Public Health’s website. In a promising turn of events, a previous warning at Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey has been lifted after testing confirmed that the water quality has returned to safe standards.
The health department conducts regular testing of ocean water bacteria levels, ensuring advisories can be lifted as soon as bacterial levels revert to acceptable state standards. The affected areas extend as far as Sapphire Street in Redondo Beach and also include Avenue I in Redondo, each with a 100-yard bacteria impact radius from the storm drain. Similarly, Malibu Lagoon State Beach at Surfrider Beach is affected up to 100 yards from the public restrooms.This incident highlights the critical need for robust monitoring and preventive strategies to safeguard public health and maintain California’s renowned beaches. It poses significant questions for both beachgoers and local authorities. In these uncertain times, it’s essential to remember that caution and vigilance can prevent potential health risks. Staying updated with public health advisories is especially crucial when planning a beach day.