Oregon Coast Officials Issue Bacteria Warning for Rockaway Beach
Published 08/09/2016 at 5:21 AM PDT = Updated 08/09/2016 at 5:29 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Rockaway Beach, Oregon) – Oregon officials have issued a health advisory for one very popular part of the north Oregon coast this time of year: Rockaway Beach.
The advisory came down from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) early Tuesday morning, starting they had found bacteria levels higher than normal at the Tillamook County beach area.
“Water samples indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, which can result in diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses,” the OHA said. “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.”
These warnings typically expire in a day or two once further testing has been done.
However, until notice that the warning has been lifted, the OHA said visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach, discolored water and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean. Even Lake Lytle could be a health risk at this time.
Exactly what causes these runs of extra bacteria is unknown. OHA said increased pathogen and fecal bacteria in the ocean waters can come from both the shore and inland sources, including runoff from rains, sewer overflows, failing septic systems or even animal waste that comes from pets, wildlife or livestock.
This is one reason visitors are urged to not to feed seagulls as they collect in large groups and drop their waste into streams, the ocean breakers or other water sources.
State officials are quick to point out there is still plenty to enjoy on the beaches of Rockaway Beach. Walking the beach, playing in the sand, kite flying, picnicking, etc., pose no risk whatsoever during these warnings. Simply stay out of the water.
Neighboring beaches on the north Oregon coast such as Nehalem Bay State Park or Barview to the south are not affected. More on Rockaway Beach below and at the Rockaway Beach Virtual Tour, Map.
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