WALDPORT, Ore. - Higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Seal Rock State Park Beach prompted state officials to issue a public health advisory to avoid the water Wednesday.
Although state officials discourage water contact, they continue to encourage other recreational activities on these beaches because they pose no health risk even during an advisory.
Neighboring beaches are not affected by this advisory.
Water samples indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses, the Oregon Health Authority said.
Direct contact with the surf or water running into the surf in this area should be avoided until the advisory is lifted, especially for children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria.
While this advisory is in effect at Seal Rock State Park Beach, 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.
Even if no advisory is in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm, the state said.
Increased pathogen and fecal bacteria levels in ocean waters can come from both shore and inland sources, such as storm water runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems, and even animal waste from livestock, pets and wildlife, thestate said.
The status of water contact advisories at beaches is subject to change. For the most recent information on advisories, visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website or call 971-673-0400, or 877-290-6767 toll-free.
Since 2003, state officials have used a federal Environmental Protection Agency grant to monitor popular Oregon beaches and make timely reports to the public about elevated levels of fecal bacteria.