Rain Brings Urban Runoff to County Beaches

The County Department of Environmental Health issued a General Advisory Wednesday for the coastal waters in San Diego County due to recent rainfall. Swimmers, surfers and other ocean users are reminded to avoid coastal waters for 72 hours, this includes all coastal beaches and all of Mission Bay and San Diego Bay.

Levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, especially near storm drains, creeks, rivers and lagoon outlets that discharge urban runoff following rain. Urban runoff may contain bacteria from a variety of sources, including animal waste, soil and decomposing vegetation. Elevated bacteria levels can persist after a rainstorm depending upon the intensity of the storm, volume of runoff and ocean and current conditions. 

While many coastal storm drains within the County are permanently posted with white metal warning signs, additional temporary warning signs are not posted for general advisories.

In addition, a water contact closure is currently in place for the ocean shoreline at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field State Park due to sewage-contaminated flows from the Tijuana River entering the United States. Signs will remain in place until sample results indicate the ocean water is safe for recreational use.

For updates on beach closure information, please visit sdbeachinfo.com or call the 24-hour hotline at (619) 338-2073.

Michelle Mowad is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact