Environmental Health Services takes ocean water samples at nineteen locations along the coast on a weekly basis. (Sampling locations are listed below.) Samples are analyzed for three types of indicator bacteria, which at sufficient concentrations indicate the potential presence of microbes that may cause human illness. A ratio of two of the three bacteria types are analyzed as well. The results are compared to standards established by the State. If any of the State standards are not met, a Health Advisory is issued. A Health Advisory warns bathers to avoid water contact activities due to the presence of elevated levels of bacteria. An advisory spans fifty yards north and south of the area where the sample is collected. Beaches are posted with advisory signs and remain posted until sample results indicate that bacteria levels meet State standards.
A beach closure occurs when a specific beach location is closed to all water contact activities due to a higher health risk associated with known hazardous waste spills, such as untreated sewage reaching recreational waters. Environmental Health Services advises to avoid water contact activities during and 72 hours following rain events as the ocean water may be contaminated.
Current Alerts and Advisories
See map below for a graphical view of beach status in San Luis Obispo County, as of the last sampling date (The map below may not reflect current conditions).
Ocean Water Quality Hotline: (805) 788-3411