County health officials issued an advisory today urging people to avoid going into the ocean water near storm drains and rivers through at least Wednesday because of pollution carried by the recent rainfall.
Swimmers, surfers and other recreational ocean users were warned that levels of bacteria can rise in ocean and bay waters, especially near storm drains, creek and lagoon outlets, according to the county Department of Public Health.
Urban runoff can contain large amounts of bacteria from debris, trash, animal waste, city streets and mountain areas, officials said.
"We do advise swimmers and surfers to stay away from the storm drains, creeks and rivers as there is the possibility that bacteria or chemicals from debris and trash may contaminate the water near and around these areas, and some individuals may become ill," according to Jonathan E. Fielding, public health director.
Areas of the beach separate from discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers are not included in the advisory.
A study by Heal the Bay, an environmental group, and UCLA undergraduate students found that beach advisories should be in place for five days after a rain event, not three days, according to Heal the Bay.
There are more than 100 beaches with storm drains in the county.
Information about the water quality at Los Angeles County beaches is available online at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/beach/.
--City News Service