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UPDATE: Water Advisory Over for One of Oregon Coast's Most Popular Towns - Cannon Beach

Published 06/18/2019 at 5:53 PM PDT - Updated 06/19/2019 at 9:03 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Water Advisory for One of Oregon Coast's Most Popular Towns - Cannon Beach

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – UPDATE: THIS ADVISORY HAS EXPIRIED.CANNON BEACH HAS BEEN CLEARED. One of the most popular beach towns on the Oregon coast is under a public health advisory, a warning against wading in the ocean waters because of fecal matter.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued a public health advisory Tuesday for higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in its ocean waters, a warning that covers the city limits of Cannon Beach but does not extend beyond to beaches like Arcadia Beach, which is a few miles down the road.

OHA’s water samples showed higher-than-normal levels of bacteria from feces in the outflow stream near Haystack Rock, which can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. The public is asked to not wade in the ocean waters and stay clear of treading in streams: essentially no contact with the water until the advisory is lifted. Of special concern are children and the elderly, who may be more susceptible to bacteria-caused illness from these waters.

“Increased pathogen and fecal bacteria levels in ocean waters can come from both shore and inland sources such as stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems, and animal waste from livestock, pets and wildlife,” the OHA said in a press release.

OHA said that visitors to the Oregon coast should take some precautions anywhere they go on the shoreline, even if there is no water warning.

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

Even with this warning about wading in the ocean, state officials urge visitors to continue visiting Cannon Beach and engaging in their other favorite recreational activities, such as flying kites, picnicking, playing on the beach, walking, and so on. These pose no health risk.

OHA takes samples from only a few spots along the Oregon coast, and the area around Haystack Rock is one of them. It is generally not known what kind of fecal bacteria is in the waters, but Cannon Beach does have issues with excessive seagull droppings at times and this is thought to often be the source of the bacteria when these warnings arise.

It is yet another reason you should not feed seagulls, besides the fact human food is bad for them.

Testing of waters is usually done for a few days after the warning, and results then take a day or to return. Beach wading advisories are usually lifted within a day or two.

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

See Oregon Coast Beach Safety and Warning Warnings for updates

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