SALEM, Ore. – Avoid direct contact with the ocean at D River Beach in Lincoln County and Rockaway and Neskowin beaches in Tillamook County until further notice, the Oregon Health Authority said in a public health advisory issued Tuesday.
“People should avoid direct contact with the water in this area until the advisory is lifted,” the agency said. “Higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. This applies especially to children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to illness from waterborne bacteria.”
The exact source of the bacteria is not known.
“Increased pathogen and fecal bacteria levels in ocean waters can come from both shore and inland sources such as stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems, and animal waste from livestock, pets and wildlife,” according to the state.
The advisory means “visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach, or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean,” the state said. “Even if there is no advisory in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm.”
But as Oregonians know all too well, rare is the day one actually wants to come in contact with the ocean.
Other beach activities are OK.
“Although state officials advise against water contact, they continue to encourage other recreational activities (flying kites, picnicking, playing on the beach, walking, etc.) on this beach because they pose no health risk even during an advisory,” the state said.
You can find all current advisories online at the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website or by calling 971-673-0482 or 877-290-6767 (toll-free).