From Where We Are

Santa Monica bacterial levels rise in the ocean

In recent weeks, Los Angeles County has given warnings on unsafe water pollution levels in the waters surrounding the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica Pier (Photo by Jason Goode)

The water surrounding the Santa Monica Pier has been making headlines due to unsafe bacterial levels found at the beach. The Santa Monica Daily Press wrote a report of the water in Santa Monica beaches being the most polluted in California. We asked Heal The Bay Water Quality Specialist Alison Wu to explain the potential risk to humans and the environment.

Alison Wu: “We are talking about water safety, we’re mainly concerned about what’s called water pathogens. So basically, these pathogens, the microorganisms that can make people sick. For example, some people went to the beach, come back with like stomachaches, rash skins, like red eyes. This is mainly happened when there were slight infections due to some waterborne pathogens. So this among pathogens can come from different sources, mainly like although they ended up on the beach in the water.”

Some members of the community like local surf teacher, Kei, didn’t express as much concern being in the water.

Kei: ”I usually stay out of the water right up here because a lot of the bacteria garbage off the streets goes into the ocean. ”

Kei usually does not check bacteria levels before going out surfing

Kei: ”... not on a day by day basis, mostly because I don’t really want to know that’s going to be out here anyway.”

With the rainy season that is present in California, it leads to problems in the ocean.

Alison Wu: “...especially during rain seasons, because we know the storm drains basically collect all the rainwater that’s flowing from the roofs or from the streets. So they’ll collect all this dirty water. Flush them into the ocean. So usually the water within the storm drains a pretty dirty. So, for example, like even to close beaches at Venice Beach, one close to the storm drains and one is like away from storm drains. So even there are like only a few a few. 100 foot, what, a few hundred feet away. One close to the storm drain to have really bad water quality.”

Tourist, Janine Gonzalez, from Colorado said she will listen to the advice from the Los Angeles representatives.

Janine Gonzalez: “Well then I’ll have to move out farther from the pier I guess if the levels are safer out there.”

For Annenberg Media, I’m Garret Harcourt