UPDATE, July 1, 2019,9:44 p.m. – Warnings for two of the effected beaches have now been lifted, Seal Rock and Agate Beach.
The Oregon Health Authority issued a health warning this week for five beaches along the central and southern coasts, saying the water contains a “higher-than-normal level of fecal bacteria.”
The OHA sent out advisory warnings for the water quality at Seal Rock State Park and Agate beaches in Lincoln County, Sunset Bay State Park Beach in Coos County and Harris and Hubbard Creek beaches in Curry County.
According to the warning, visitors to these beaches “should avoid direct contact with the water in this area until the advisory is lifted… avoid wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach, or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean.” Dry land activities, such as flying kites or simple walks on the beach, are still safe.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials told reporters that they are monitoring the entire coastline, not just the five sites. They said that recent heavy rainfall is a common factor in the rise of fecal bacteria levels. The advisory warnings note that even without a formal warning, they recommend to avoid swimming in the ocean for at least 48 hours after heavy rain.
By Ian MacRonald