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Bacteria Levels High at South Coast Beaches

Arroyo Burro Beach
Ray Ford

Unhealthy levels of bacteria were found at several beaches in Santa Barbara County, notably Carpinteria’s city beach and Santa Barbara’s East and Arroyo Burro beaches, the week of February 11. Warnings have been posted, mostly due to higher-than-state-standards for intestinal flora of unknown animal origin, which is a usual occurrence after winter rains scour the landscape. Simultaneously, the county has been moving mud and rock from front-country debris basins to Carpinteria and Goleta, though officials are quick to point out that the organic matter in the basins had no opportunity to emanate from urban areas and are tested before being trucked to the beach.

The expectation of high-intensity storms had County Flood Control moving the debris to the nearest beach — Carpinteria — and the milder rains currently in the forecast mean it is now being trucked to Goleta. Carpinteria welcomes the clean dirt and cobbles, its Parks Director Matt Roberts said, as they give the beaches a chance to recoup the silt that build them up. They are otherwise retained in the Santa Monica, Romero, and Arroyo Paredon debris basins, he said, and trucked away from their natural endpoint.

Editor’s Note: This story was written before the week’s ocean water quality report was released. The report for the week of February 18 has removed the warnings from all but Carpinteria city beach’s east buffer. The most recent reports are at the county’s Public Health website.

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