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Two Central Oregon Coast Beaches Under Health Advisories

Published 06/26/2019 at 5:53 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Two Central Oregon Coast Beaches Under Health Advisories

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(Newport, Oregon) – Two high-profile beaches on the central Oregon coast have been issued health advisories as of June 26, calling for the public to stay out of the water at Agate Beach in Newport and Seal Rock State Park just south of town.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued the advisories due to higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Agate Beach and Seal Rock State Park Beach, both in Lincoln County. Other beaches close by, such as Nye Beach in Newport, are not affected.

OHA found water samples from both areas had levels of fecal bacteria that were above normal, which can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. OHA said you should avoid contact with the ocean water in these areas until the advisory is lifted. Particularly vulnerable are the elderly and children, who can be affected more harshly by waterborne bacteria.

Exactly where the fecal matter comes from is never quite certain. OHA said it could be from the shore or inland sources, such as stormwater runoff, failing septic systems from nearby homes, sewers, or animal waste from wildlife or livestock.

Above: Seal Rock

A heavy presence of seagulls is thought to be the cause at times because of their droppings.

Although the advisory at Seal Rock and at Agate Beach keeps you out of ocean water, OHA also suggests staying out of nearby streams or pools of water. Whatever the advisory status, you should always stay out of oddly-colored pools of water or streams.

“Even if there is no advisory in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm,” OHA said.

While you should not have contact with the ocean water, state officials say all other forms of recreation on these beaches are safe. There is plenty of beach at Agate Beach to play on, and Seal Rock has numerous fascinating rock structures to explore. Activities like picnicking, kiting, walking, etc. are encouraged.

Testing of these spots is ongoing after such declarations and test results usually take another 24 hours or so to return. Often, these advisories only last a day or two.

Check the Oregon Coast Beach Safety and Alerts page for constant updates, or visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at http://www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0482, or 877-290-6767 (toll-free). More of Seal Rock and Agate Beach below:

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