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Signs warn of high bacteria counts at beaches

More bad news for beach-goers at Pismo and Avila beaches.

First, a shark sighting was reported in each port recently. Then Tuesday, the county health-department posted advisories to alert ocean-goers of high bacteria counts.

Liberty Amundson, county environmental health specialist, said signs were posted in the area immediately south of the Pismo Beach pier and west (upcoast) of the Avila Beach pier.

The advisories warn people to stay out of the water, another blow to those trying to dodge the high temperatures elsewhere and for businesses hoping for happy crowds on July 4.

Amundson said tests taken Monday showed unhealthy water conditions, although she didn’t know the pollutants that triggered the health advisories.

Retesting was done Tuesday when signs were posted; if those tests come back clean, she said, signs could be removed sometime Wednesday.

A surfer spotted a shark Saturday about 150 yards south of the Pismo Pier. Because the city has no authority to close the beach for an observation period, officials posted warnings and lifeguards were put on alert.

A boater reported seeing another shark on June 27 between the Harford and Cal Poly piers in Avila Beach. Officials quickly closed the waters off Avila, Olde Port and Fisherman’s beaches. Surfers, swimmers and other ocean goers were allowed back in the water on Monday, but warning signs still are posted.

— Kathe Tanner

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