Environment

Fecal bacteria level drops in waters off Pismo, rises in Avila Beach

Health officials are warning people to stay out of the water near the Avila Beach pier and the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek after high levels of fecal bacteria were found there Monday.
Health officials are warning people to stay out of the water near the Avila Beach pier and the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek after high levels of fecal bacteria were found there Monday. Tribune

A water sample taken just south of the Pismo Pier has passed state bacterial standards, and a weeklong advisory warning the public to avoid contact with the water there has been lifted.

However, weekly sampling on Monday showed that two beaches in Avila Beach exceeded state standards and beach advisories have been posted there.

The two Avila Beach locations are near the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek and at the end of San Luis Street near the pier.

An advisory extends 50 yards north and south of the area where the sample is collected.

Rich Lichtenfels with the San Luis Obispo County Department of Environmental Health said Tuesday that test results of the water sample taken just south of the Pismo pier on Monday came back within the state standards for fecal bacteria levels.

For five straight days last week, water samples near the Pismo Beach Pier exceeded state standards, causing county health officials to post signs on the beach warning beachgoers to avoid contact with the water.

County environmental health staff takes weekly water samples from 19 beaches along the San Luis Obispo County coastline. They are tested for three types of fecal bacteria that can pose a public health threat.

Those beaches that exceed state health standards are posted with warning signs. County officials do not know what caused the weeklong string of exceedances in Pismo Beach, but the beach has a history of bacterial pollution due to birds roosting on the pier.

Explore the piers of San Luis Obispo County in this video journey from Pismo Beach to Cayucos.

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