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Three New Oregon Coast Ocean Health Advisories: Neskowin, Rockaway, Lincoln City

Published 09/10/2019 at 5:53 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three New Oregon Coast Ocean Health Advisories: Neskowin, Rockaway, Lincoln City

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(Rockaway Beach, Oregon) – Three more public health advisories were issued Tuesday for beaches on the Oregon coast. This time, only days after the Short Sand Beach advisory was lifted, Oregon officials say you should stay out of the water at Rockaway Beach, Neskowin and the D River access in Lincoln City.

Tests indicated the water for each contained higher-than-normal levels of bacteria, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Neskowin and Rockaway Beach are in Tillamook County; D River is in Lincoln County. The advisory for Rockaway Beach is larger than usual: this time for the entire seven miles of shoreline along the town.

“People should avoid direct contact with the water in this area until the advisory is lifted,” the OHA said. “Higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. This applies especially to children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to illness from waterborne bacteria.”

A variety of possibilities can cause fecal bacteria to rise in ocean waters, but they’re most often from some source onshore. These can be stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems, and animal waste from livestock or pets. But it can also be from wildlife. In fact, large concentrations of gulls are often believed to be the source of contaminants. Thus, many Oregon coast oceanfront lodgings post signs not to feed seagulls. Sources can be from offshore as well.

While the advisories are in effect at Neskowin Beach, Rockaway Beach and the D River access, 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. State officials add that even if there no health advisory for ocean waters, they urge not to swim in the ocean for 48 hours following a rainstorm.

Although wading in the ocean poses health risks during these advisories, all other forms of recreation are encouraged: hiking, walking on the beach, playing ball, kite flying, picnics, etc.

These health advisories usually only last a day or so. Testing is done every day in these areas, and results often take 24 hours to come back positive or negative.

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 971-673-0482 or 877-290-6767 (toll-free).

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