Warning: Don't swim in ocean after rainstorms

Posted at 2:14 PM, Mar 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-12 17:14:12-05

A routine warning to swimmers, surfers, divers and other recreational users of coastal waters was issued this weekend by the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health in the wake of Friday's rainstorm.

The general advisory includes a warning that levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, especially near storm drains, creeks, rivers, and lagoon outlets that discharge urban runoff, according to the DEH.

Urban runoff may contain large amounts of bacteria from a variety of sources such as animal waste, soil and decomposing vegetation. While many coastal storm drains within San Diego County are permanently posted with white metal warning signs, additional temporary warning signs are not posted for general advisories.

Activities such as swimming, surfing and diving should be avoided in all coastal waters for 72 hours following rain. This includes all coastal beaches and all of Mission Bay and San Diego Bay.

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

In addition, a water contact closure is currently in place for the ocean shoreline at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field State Park due to sewage-contaminated flows from the Tijuana River entering the United States.

Signs will remain in place until sample results indicate the ocean water is safe for recreational use.

For updates on beach closure information, residents can call the 24-hour hotline at (619) 338-2073.