Bacteria levels in Bay, ocean could rise because of storm

San Mateo County Environmental Health Department officials are warning residents and visitors to avoid swimming in the ocean or San Francisco Bay near the shore, because runoff from winter storms is likely to raise the amount of bacteria in the water to unsafe levels.

The large volumes of water running down hillsides and through dry streambeds to the ocean and Bay creates a flushing action that will likely raise bacteria levels, according to the department.

Water within 300 feet of urban streams, lagoons, river mouths and storm drain outlets are especially dangerous, and should be avoided for at least three days following a major storm.

Staff members, along with volunteers from the Surfrider Foundation collect samples of beach and creek waters every Monday, according to the department. The County Public Health lab then tests the samples for total and fecal coliforms. Coliforms are a group of bacteria that inhabit the intestinal tracts of people and animals. When found in water they indicate the potential presence of organisms that are known to cause disease in people.

Symptoms associated with swimming in areas with high levels of bacteria are nausea, vomiting, fever, skin rashes and diarrhea.

A list of posted beaches and creeks can be found at http://www.smhealth.org/environ/beaches or by calling the hot line at (650) 599-1266.

Bay City News

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Navigation shelter resident tests positive for coronavirus

Homeless advocates repeatedly warned about an outbreak in congregate settings

Plummeting Bay Area bridge traffic finally levels off

All told, weekday Bay Area traffic volumes are down by half, which has remained consistent from March 23 through this week.

San Francisco launches coronavirus economic recovery task force

Upwards of 5,600 employees in San Francisco were laid off in March

Second deputy at SF Hall of Justice jail tests positive as inmate count shrinks

Doctor says inmate count needs to fall further to mitigate potential outbreak

Breed pushes volunteer opportunities to help isolated seniors as coronavirus spreads

Seniors and those living with disabilities are most susceptible to severe impacts of the coronavirus and are advised to remain home.

Most Read