With rainfall predicted across the region, Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services wants to remind residents about potential health risks associated with stormwater runoff at countywide beaches. Current estimates project rainfall starting this evening today through Sunday in Santa Barbara County. Stormwater is untreated rainwater that flows through the drain system into creeks, the ocean, and other waterways. Contact with stormwater while swimming or surfing may increase the risk for certain illnesses such as rashes, fever, chills, ear infections, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Unlike the municipal sewer system, water carried by a storm drain system is not treated. To minimize potential health risks, it is recommended that people 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 stormwater runoff may carry high levels of bacteria and pollutants.
The County of Santa Barbara implements various programs to protect public health and enhance the environmental quality of County watersheds and beaches. Improving water quality by reducing or treating sources of pollution is a multi-faceted task.
To find out what is being done to improve water quality and how you can help, visit www.sbprojectcleanwater.org.