The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has issued a “BEACH CLOSED” notice in response to a reported spill of untreated sewage today.
The spill involved a release of at least 9,000 gallons of sewage from a sewer manhole to Mission Creek, near Vernon Road and Stanley Drive in Santa Barbara. As a result, West Beach from Santa Barbara Harbor to ¼-mile east of the Mission Creek outfall has been closed to recreational water contact. The affected area has been posted with signs warning the public to avoid all contact with the water until sample results indicate the water is safe for recreational use. Contact with sewage-contaminated water increases the risk for certain types of illnesses.
In addition, with the continuing heavy rainfall, Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services wants to remind residents about potential health risks associated with storm water runoff at countywide beaches. Storm water is untreated rain water that flows through the drain system into creeks, the ocean, and other waterways. Contact with storm water while swimming or surfing may increase the risk for certain types of illnesses such as rashes, fever, chills, ear infections, vomiting, and diarrhea.
To minimize potential health risks, do not swim, play or surf in the ocean and creeks for at least three days following a rain event. Beachgoers should also avoid areas near the outfall from drainpipes and creeks that enter the ocean following a rain event as storm water runoff may carry high levels of bacteria and pollutants.