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Beach Water Advisory at Seal Rock Lifted After Only 24 Hours | Central Oregon Coast

Published 07/11/21 at 5:45 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Beach Water Advisory at Seal Rock Lifted After Only 24 Hours | Central Oregon Coast

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(Waldport, Oregon) – After only one day of a beach advisory, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) lifted the public health alert for Seal Rock on the central Oregon coast.

Seal Rock, just north of Waldport, was put under an advisory to not go in the ocean water on July 8, after water samples showed higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria in ocean waters. The advisory was lifted on July 9.

Results taken from follow-up tests revealed the bacteria levels had gone back down to lower levels, according to Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Contact with the ocean water no longer poses a higher-than-normal risk. 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.

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.

Beach advisories typically only last one to four days, just as this incident did.

Since 2003, state officials have used a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to monitor popular Oregon beaches and make timely reports to the public about elevated levels of fecal bacteria. Oregon state agencies participating in this program are OHA, DEQ and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

For more information, visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at http://www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0440, or call OHA toll-free information line at 877-290-6767.

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