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Central Coast health officials advise avoiding ocean water following the storm

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Posted at 6:25 PM, Oct 26, 2021

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department is advising people to avoid going into the ocean after Monday's storm.

Although it may be tempting for many especially surfers to go into the ocean, it's important to know that after a storm the water can be harmful and can potentially make someone sick.

"Rainstorm runoffs is known to potentially transport disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa from the watershed and urban areas to the ocean,” said Leslie Terry with the SLO Public Health Department.

Those organisms carried into the ocean can cause skin, respiratory, and intestinal problems.

"Well I've been a beach girl since my twenties from Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach and we all know not to get into the beach after a big storm,” said Cynthia FitzPatrick.

According to the health department young children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to waterborne pathogens.

For those who do decide to go into the ocean, the health department suggests avoiding areas close to creeks, rivers, storm drains, and other run-off outlets that empty into the ocean.

Health officials add that it is best to wait at least 3 days after a storm to be able to safely jump into the water once again.

For more information about beach water quality, visit the Public Health Department Beach Water Quality website at, or call the Ocean Water Monitoring Program Telephone Hotline at (805) 788-3411.