Stay Away From Toxic Pacific Ocean, Experts Warn
The weekend's storm has moved out, but some of the powerful Pacific swell has remained. And, with diminished winds, that's a recipe for some good surfing at many local spots.
Surfers are taking advantage. But experts at UCLA and Heal the Bay are pleading for watermen and women to back off.
New water quality data analysis by students at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability points to ocean bacteria, including fecal matter, which thanks to urban runoff is so prevalent after storms that some of you should wait five days before jumping in.
Previously, Heal the Bay, the environmental group that is also behind the new report, had recommended a standard, three-day wait.
A Heal the Bay spokesman told us:
The old rule has been three days, but that might not be adequate for the many beaches near storm drains. ... You'd be shocked by the thousands of surfers who were in the water this weekend because of good waves ...
Warmer weather expected this week will beckon many more to the water. Heal the Bay hopes they heed the warning.
UCLA students analyzed seven years worth of water-quality data 32 beaches in California. The main focus: Fecal bacteria.
They found that it could take five days for mother nature's currents to clean things up. It's worse for bays and harbors, according to a joint statement from UCLA and Heal the Bay:
... Enclosed beaches located near harbors and marinas often did not meet beach water quality standards for 10 days after a rain.
The cost of getting into such water can be ear infections, diarrhea and worse. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.