Results from ocean water samples taken April 2 and released on Thursday continue to keep Goleta Beach closed due to high bacteria levels. Warnings are in place for Carpinteria State Beach and Santa Barbara’s East Beach at Mission Creek, which means the public should stay 50 yards from creek mouths and avoid contact with ocean, lagoon, and creek water due to high bacteria levels. North County’s Jalama Beach maintains its warning status from the previous week because of the poop in the lagoon runoff from the previous rain, likely from waterfowl.
Goleta Beach was the emergency site for 40,900 cubic yards of mud delivered from the debris flow disaster and pushed into the surf line. County Public Works’ environmental manager Maureen Spencer was uncertain why bacterial levels were so high, though she assured that human bacteria was zero or very low, citing a January study conducted by Trish Holden, an environmental microbiologist at UCSB. In October or November, Spencer added, Public Works moved about 15,000 cubic yards of silt from Atascadero Creek to Goleta Beach, as it does annually, and that the open mouth of the slough could possibly account for increased bacteria levels. Goleta’s enterococcus levels were as high as 2,489; 104 is the state health standard.
At Carpinteria, 28,000 cubic yards of debris flow had been deposited at the beach, 22,500 of which had come from the marsh nearby, said Tom Fayram, deputy director of Public Works. The total coliform approached the state level — 9,208 of 10,000 — at Carpinteria, as it did East Beach at Mission Creek, with 6,867. That test looks at coliform from all animal sources, including humans, as well as the coliforms found in soil. The fecal coliform results — or animal or human poop presence — at the four beaches were low, though Goleta’s was highest at 211 compared to the state health standard of 400.
County Public Health conducts ocean water quality tests weekly, and results are available here.