Health officials warn of high bacteria levels at beaches from ra - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Health officials warn of high bacteria levels at beaches from rain runoff

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - People were warned to stay away from more San Diego-area beaches Saturday because runoff from the recent rain has increased bacteria levels, according to the county Department of Environmental Health.

Activities such as swimming, surfing and diving should be avoided in all coastal waters including those in San Diego and Mission Bay.

The water contact closure area at the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge shoreline was extended to include the Imperial Beach shoreline to Carnation Avenue, including Camp Surf, according to the department.

Sewage-contaminated runoff in the Tijuana River has been entering the Tijuana Estuary as a result of rainfall and is still flowing.

Beaches from Seacoast Drive to Border Field State Park have been closed since Dec. 18, according to the San Diego Coastkeeper website.

Signs warning of sewage contaminated water will remain in place until field measurements indicate the ocean water is safe for recreational use.

Beach goers should also avoid recreational waters within 75 feet from where the runoff enters.

Bacteria levels can rise significantly in ocean and bay water, especially near storm drains, rivers, creeks and lagoon outlets that discharge urban runoff. Urban runoff may contain large amounts of bacteria from a variety of sources such as animal waste, decomposing vegetation and soil.

Elevated bacteria levels can persist after a rainstorm depending upon the intensity of the storm, volume of runoff and current ocean conditions,
according to the department.

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