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UPDATE: N. Oregon Coast Water Advisories Lifted for Rockaway Beach, Short Sand

Published 09/29/22 at 6:444 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast Water Advisories: Rockaway Beach, Short Sand Test High for Fecal Matter

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(Rockaway Beach, Oregon) – UPDATE: EARLY 9/29 BOTH ADVISORIES HAVE BEEN LIFTED _____

Two high-profile areas of the north Oregon coast now have public health advisories to stay out of the water. Rockaway Beach and Short Sand Beach, both in Tillamook County, have showed unsafe levels of fecal bacteria. (Photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is issuing a public health advisory saying that people avoid direct contact with the water until the advisory is lifted.

Short Sand Beach is located at the northern edges of Tillmook County, a large popular beach just north of Manzanita. Rockaway Beach is the seven-mile-long town about 15 minutes south of Manzanita.

Short Sand is a major surfing hub on the coast, and this will put a dampener on beach trips for many surfers.

OHA said contact with the water while these levels are in place could cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Younger children and the elderly could be even more vulnerable, as compromised immune systems lead more easily to illnesses from waterborne bacteria.

Short Sand Beach

“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,” said OHA. “Levels of fecal bacteria tend to be higher in these types of water sources.”

Scientists cannot identify the exact source of these events.

OHA said the cause of fecal bacteria in the ocean can come from a large variety of sources. They can be both from the shoreline or from inland sources. Runoff from stormwater is common on the Oregon coast, but there have been no storms lately. Animal waste from livestock, pets, or even wildlife can cause this. This is the main reason many Oregon coast towns post signs that say not to feed gulls, because when they amass they leave behind large amounts of droppings.

Sewer overflows or failing septic systems can also result in test results with higher levels of bacteria.

OHA even if there no advisory in effect, you should not swim in the ocean for 48 hours after a storm.

Re-testing is done constantly after advisories are in place. These events are normally in place for a few days. OHA will announce when test results are below required levels and sound the OK to go back in the ocean.

While this these advisories are in effect at Short Sand Beach and Rockaway Beach, Oregon coast officials say all other aspects of recreating on the beaches are just fine. They encourage strolling along the beaches, playing in the sand and picnicking, as these pose no risk to health.

For the most recent information on advisories, visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at or call 971-673-0482, or 877-290-6767 (toll-free)

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