Bacteria Advisory Issued for Seal Rock Ocean Waters on Central Oregon Coast
Published 08/10/2016 at 5:11 PM PDT - Updated 08/10/2016 at 5:19 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Waldport, Oregon) – A second water quality warning was issued for the Oregon coast this week, with the latest for Seal Rock State Park Beach on the central coast, near Waldport.
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued the latest Wednesday morning after sending out a bacteria advisory for Rockaway Beach yesterday. That one has not yet expired.
OHA said sampling of the Seal Rock area confirmed fecal bacteria levels were higher than normal, and advised no contact with the ocean waters until the advisory has lifted.
These warnings typically last only a day or two. Once a beach has been the subject of an alert it is tested every day. However, it can take up to 24 hours for results to come through.
Seal Rock State Park is located several miles north of Waldport and about ten miles south of Newport, in Lincoln County.
The OHA said these kinds of bacteria influxes can result in diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses.
“Direct contact with the water should be avoided in this area until the advisory is lifted, especially by children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria,” the OHA said. “While this advisory is in effect at Seal Rock State Park Beach, visitors should 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.”
Rainstorms can also cause bacterial problems in local oceans and streams and the OHA said you should not swim in the ocean for 48 hours after heavy rains.
Increased pathogen and fecal bacteria levels in ocean waters can come from numerous sources and it's almost never known exactly what triggers these extra high levels. Sewage overflows, failing septic systems, livestock, pets and even wildlife can cause the parts per million to rise substantially. Extremely large flocks of seagulls can cause this as well, which are often attracted in great numbers by humans feeding them.
The advisory does not extend to beaches north or south of the town of Seal Rock, but to be safe stay clear of the ocean waters within city limits, such as the attractive beaches at Curtis St. at the southern end of Seal Rock.
Oregon officials are quick to point out there is still plenty to do on these beaches that does not involve coming into contact with the water, such as picnicking, beachcombing, kite-flying or especially exploring the rocky nooks and crannies of the state park.
The status of water contact advisories at beaches is subject to change. For the most recent information on advisories, visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at http://www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0400, or 877-290-6767 (toll-free). More about Seal Rock below and at the Seal Rock, Waldport Virtual Tour, Map.
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