LA Public Health Ocean Water Warnings Continue

June 28, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—Ocean water use warnings issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health continue to impact beaches this week, including areas near the Santa Monica Pier. They listed six beach areas where bacterial levels in the water exceeded health standards on Monday, June 26. 

Officials caution members of the public to avoid swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters of the following beach regions in LA County:

  • Topanga Canyon Beach in Malibu. 100 yards up and down the coast from the lagoon.
  • Inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro. The entire swim area.
  • Malibu Lagoon at Surfrider Beach. 100 yards up and down the coast from the public restrooms.
  • Mothers Beach in Marina Del Rey. The entire swim area.
  • Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica. 100 yards up and down the coast from the pier.
  • Las Flores Creek at Las Flores State Beach. 100 yards up and down the coast from the creek.

The Department of Public Health recommends beachgoers check the department’s Beach Water Quality website before visiting a beach to see if there are any beach water quality warnings in effect.

Routine water quality testing is conducted throughout the week, and each location must meet state health standards before the warning can be lifted. 

“Rain flushes contaminants and pollution from city streets into storm drains, creeks, and rivers. Contaminants such as trash, fertilizer, and pet waste may increase the levels of harmful microorganisms called “pathogenic bacteria” in the ocean to potentially unsafe levels,” LA County Department of Health told Canyon News. 

“The pathogenic bacteria can be present at or near the site where contaminants enter the water.”

Swimming in water contaminated by pathogenic bacteria can cause illness and skin infections. People most likely to develop illnesses or infections are children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. 

Gastroenteritis is the most common illness contracted from pathogenic bacteria in the ocean, which typically enters a person’s system through bacteria-contaminated water swallowed while swimming, according to the Department of Public Health. The symptoms of gastroenteritis include nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache, or fever. 

Other common illnesses from bacteria-contaminated water include ear, eye, nose, and throat or skin infections. In highly polluted water, swimmers may occasionally be exposed to more serious diseases.

“Fortunately, while swimming-related illnesses are unpleasant, they are usually not very serious,” said LA County Public Health. “They typically require little or no treatment or get better quickly upon treatment and are not expected to have any long-term health effects.”

By Paige Strickland

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