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Public warned to avoid ocean water contact during, after storm

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Posted at 12:35 PM, Feb 24, 2023

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department is warning the public to avoid contact with ocean water during and at least three days following significant rainfall.

Health officials say contact with stormwater while swimming or surfing may increase the risk for illnesses such as rashes, fever, chills, ear infections, vomiting, and diarrhea.

They say rain runoff is known to transport high levels of disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa from the watershed and urban areas to the ocean. Those organisms can cause skin, respiratory, and intestinal problems.

Surfers, swimmers and others are advised to avoid contact with ocean water during this period, especially in areas close to creeks, rivers, and storm drains that empty into the ocean.

Sport harvesters are also advised to wait at least 10 days after a significant rain to harvest shellfish.

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

In Santa Barbara County, call the Ocean Water Quality Hotline at (805) 681-4949.