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The Orange County Health Care Agency issued a rain advisory for the coast on Monday, Dec. 23. The South County saw heavy rainfall through the morning, which can cause contaminants to flood through storm drains, such as those that empty into San Juan Creek.
“The Environmental Health staff advises swimmers that bacterial levels can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters adjacent to storm drains, creeks and rivers during and after rainstorms,” the advisory states.
Elevated levels of bacteria can continue for a period of at least three days depending on the intensity of the rain and the volume of the runoff.
“Swimmers should avoid coastal waters impacted by discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers, and beach users should avoid contact with any runoff on the beach during dry or wet weather conditions,” the advisory states.
The Health Care Agency, in partnership with the Orange County Sanitation District and South Orange County Wastewater Authority, have been testing the coastal ocean, bay and harbor waters in Orange County for bacteria that indicate the possible presence of disease-causing organisms.
The results of the tests are reviewed by Health Care Agency Environmental Health staff, and if the data indicates a contamination, warning or closure signs are posted at the beach depending on the extent and cause of the contamination.
If you need to report a bather illness, call 714.433.6011 during business hours from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit ocbeachinfo.com.
Lillian Boyd is the senior editor for Picket Fence Media and city editor for Dana Point Times. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Humboldt State University. Her work experience includes interviewing incarcerated individuals in the Los Angeles County jails, an internship at the Pentagon covering U.S. Army news as well as reporting and anchoring for a local news radio station in Virginia. Follow her on Twitter @Lillianmboyd and follow Dana Point Times at @danapointtimes.