Environment

Stay out of the ocean for a few days — it’s full of nasty storm runoff

Rainwater runoff contributes to an increase in disease-carrying organisms along the shore. Health officials are warning the public to avoid contact with the ocean until at least three days have passed since the storm’s end.
Rainwater runoff contributes to an increase in disease-carrying organisms along the shore. Health officials are warning the public to avoid contact with the ocean until at least three days have passed since the storm’s end. AP

Members of the public should avoid all contact with ocean water for at least three days following the conclusion of the rainstorm that devastated parts of southern Santa Barbara County on Monday and Tuesday, San Luis Obispo County’s Public Health Department warned in a statement.

“Rainstorm runoff is known to transport to the ocean high levels of disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa originating from the watershed and urban areas,” according to the county.

These organisms can cause skin, respiratory and intestinal problems, with the young, old and immune-compromised being particularly vulnerable.

“Surfers and other ocean water enthusiasts are advised to avoid ocean water contact during this period, especially areas close to creeks, rivers, storm drains and other runoff outlets that empty into the ocean,” the county said.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler

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