On the brink of what could be a balmy holiday weekend, swimmers are being warned to stay away from the water at a family-friendly stretch of Baker Beach.
Bacteria levels at the mouth of Lobos Creek skyrocketed this week, prompting authorities Wednesday to post signs warning summertime swimmers to steer clear of the stream and adjacent surf.
The portion of Baker Beach is popular with families because it’s sheltered from the wind, close to a parking lot and bus stops, and far away from the nudists who dominate the shoreline’s northern stretch.
Kids frequently dabble in sandy pools that are formed by the creek before the water flows into the Pacific Ocean’s cold and turbulent surf.
The sun is forecast to shine over the region for the holiday weekend, pushing beachfront temperatures to the mid- to high 60s on Saturday and Sunday, National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Benjamin said. Higher temperatures are forecast downtown.
“We should have a nice weekend coming up,” Benjamin said.
No-swimming signs were installed at the southern portion of the beach for the third time in six weeks. Some waders and surfers on Wednesday ignored the warnings.
After swimming was banned May 19, bacteria levels dipped back within a day to those considered safe, city monitoring data show.
But within a week, pollution had climbed back to a higher concentration and a two-day closure was required.
Water samples taken Wednesday will be tested and no-swimming signs will be removed about 8 a.m. today if much of the pollution is found to have washed away.
City and state officials are using U.S. Department of Energy technology to determine the long-running source of contamination along the affected 100-yard stretch of the federally owned beach.
Sea gulls, raccoons and other wildlife that visit the pools of shoreline water and thickly vegetated creek might be to blame.
Human sewage is not believed to be responsible for the unsafe concentrations of enterococcus and coliform bacteria, which can cause ear and eye infections, stomach pain and other ailments.
Recent dates when no-swimming signs were posted at the Lobos Creek stretch of Baker Beach: