High bacteria levels on LA County beaches this Memorial Day weekend

Public health officials are urging sunbathers to avoid swimming, surfing and playing in the water at several Los Angeles County beaches over Memorial Day weekend due to high bacteria levels.

According to the LA County Department of Public Health, popular beaches have levels of ocean bacteria that exceed California standards and could cause illness to swimmers, especially children and the elderly.

In Malibu, warnings have been issued for Topanga Canyon Beach, Surfrider Beach and Latigo Shore Drive.

“Swimming in water contaminated with pathogenic bacteria can cause illnesses and skin infections,” a Health Ministry spokesperson said in an email. “Fortunately, although swimming-related illnesses are unpleasant, they are usually not very serious and require little or no treatment.”

Contamination from runoff can increase levels of bacteria, such as E.coli and salmonella, in the ocean, especially near storm drains and creeks, according to county health officials.

Here are the rest of the sites included in the county’s advisory for the weekend:

  • Marie Canyon Storm Drain in Puerco Beach
  • Las Flores Cove at Las Flores Beach
  • Mothers Beach in Marina del Rey

On Friday, the Department of Public Health cleared Escondido Creek in Escondido Beach, Solstice Creek in Dan Blocker County Beach and Pena Creek in Las Tunas County Beach. Recent sample results have shown water quality levels to be within state standards in these areas.
Santa Monica Canyon Creek at Will Rogers State Beach and the Pico-Kenter Storm Drain at Santa Monica Beach were also cleared.

But authorities advised against swimming near the Santa Monica Pier this Memorial Day weekend. Jetties can attract birds, which can increase bacteria levels, and plumbing underneath could also release sewage into the ocean.

Beaches will have warning signs posted near contaminated areas until further testing determines that bacteria levels have declined to state standards.

The county health department collects seawater samples every Monday at 40 locations stretching from the Ventura County line south of the Redondo Beach Pier.

People are urged to call the Beach Advisory Hotline at (800) 525-5662 for up-to-date information on advisories and closures.

Los Angeles Times

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