Oregon Coast Health Advisories Lifted for Both Rockaway, Seal Rock
Published 08/11/2016 at 6:11 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – The public health advisories issued for two different Oregon coast beaches were lifted Thursday. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) sent out warnings to stay out of the ocean waters at Seal Rock yesterday and Rockaway Beach the previous day.
Rockaway Beach is just south of Manzanita in Tillamook County, and Seal Rock State Park Beach is just south of Newport in Lincoln County.
No other beaches on the Oregon coast were under these warnings.
OHA had issued the warnings because of water samples that came back with higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria.
Ongoing sampling and testing done by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has shown that contamination in both areas' waters have subsided and the ocean breakers no longer pose any health risk. Swimming, wading, tide-pooling and any other activity that brings you in contact with the waters are now completely safe.
“However, officials recommend staying out of large pools on the beach that are frequented by birds, and runoff from those pools, because the water may contain increased bacteria from fecal matter,” OHA said.
These extra high levels of fecal bacteria can come from a variety of sources and it is never known exactly what causes them. Failing septic tanks or rainstorm runoff can create this – and indeed there had been some rain along the Oregon coast just prior to these events. Pets or livestock are also a factor, as well as the large numbers of seagulls that band together in some areas.
This is one reason why Oregon coast towns urge you to not feed seagulls, as big groups of them tend to leave lots of droppings in streams going into the ocean.
The OHA State said that even though a beach might be under a health advisory, there is still plenty to do that does not involve coming into contact with the water.
Beach advisories typically only last a day or two, just as these two incidents did.
Other Beach Hazards Right Now: Currently, sand levels along the Oregon coast are extremely high and thus allow easy exploration to areas normally cut off by the tides, such as the Devil's Punchbowl near Depoe Bay or Maxwell Point at Oceanside. This is created by piles of sand creating large sand bars that hold the tide back.
The flipside of this is that these piles of sand – and the sudden drop-offs between them – also lie out just beyond the breakers. If you're wading in the breakers above your knees you could get in trouble as you can't see the drop-offs, and some are quite steep. More on this hidden Oregon coast hazard here. Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours. More on Seal Rock and Rockaway Beach below:
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