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Bacteria Warning Posted for Some Local Beaches

Surfers and swimmers beware: recent rainfall may have increased levels of illness-causing bacteria in ocean waters.

The Orange County Health Care Agency released a warning to people who swim at beaches near storm drains, river mouths, creek outlets and bay waters that rain may have washed extraneous materials into the oceans from streets and lawns.

“It all begins at the front door,” said Larry Honeybourne, chief of water quality at the agency. “Whatever we put on our grass or on the streets will wind up in the oceans.”

Honeybourne said everything from dog droppings to lawn fertilizer can increase bacteria levels for up to three days in areas such as the Santa Ana River outlet and Seal Beach.

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People exposed to harmful bacteria may suffer nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or ear infections and are advised to visit their physicians.

If bacterial levels reach dangerous levels, Honeybourne said, the agency will close the affected beaches.

A 24-hour recorded list of all beach closings is available at (714) 667-3752.


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