Beach Water Quality Monitoring
This service provides beach water quality sampling results online in order to provide the public with information on health risks so they can make an informed choice on where they swim.
Public Health Advisory to Avoid Ocean Water Contact During and After Rainstorms
Special Closure message: Beaches closed 3 miles north of the Santa Maria River outfall for recreational contact due to sewage spill in Santa Barbara County
Due to unprecedented staffing constraints, Enviornmental Health Services (EHS) is temporarily pausing the weekly ocean water sampling program for San Luis Obispo County beaches. This pause is effective immediately and will likely continue through March 2023, with plans to commence weekly sampling April 3, 2023.
The Ocean Water Monitoring Program is funded by a grant from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. Per the grant agreement, sampling during the "wet weather" season is voluntary and therfore will not impact program compliance or funding. All other services EHS provides under the program will remain active and available as needed. EHS staff will continue to respond to and investigate sewage or hazardous material releases that have potential to impact ocean water quality. Public notification of advisories and/or closures will continue to be issued as needed. The program website (www.surfsafeslo.org) and hotline will be updated with current water quality information as it becomes available.
Please feel free to contact Environmental Health Services at 805-781-5544 if you have questions or would like further clarification.
Get beach water quality results by calling the Beach Water Quality Status Hotline (805) 788-3411
View Beach Water Quality Results for the Last 30 days
This map viewer is for Reference purposes only and may not reflect current beach water conditions. The County of San Luis Obispo does not assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in the data. The County of San Luis Obispo makes no warranty of any kind, express or implied, that these data are accurate and reliable, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. Independent verification of all data should be obtained by any user thereof. Users assume responsibility to determine the appropriate use of these data.
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Environmental Health Services takes ocean water samples at nineteen locations along the coast on a weekly basis. Samples are analyzed for three (3) types of indicator bacteria, which at sufficient concentrations indicate the potential presence of microbes that may cause human illness. A ratio of two (2) of the three (3) 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 (50) 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 health advisory occurs when a sample fails to meet one or more of the state bacteriological standards due to the presence of elevated levels of bacteria. When this occurs, the San Luis Obispo Environmental Health Services Division advises that you should avoid contacting and ingesting the water until sample results indicate acceptable levels of bacteria.
A rain advisory occurs during significant rain events where elevated levels of bacteria are expected due to storm water runoff. During this time, the San Luis Obispo Environmental Health Services Division advises the public to avoid water contact for 72 hours following a significant rain event.
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.
This website is updated when weekly sample results become available. This information is also available on our hotline (805) 788-3411.
Below are helpful links related to Beach Water Quality Testing: