Santa Barbara- S County

Surfers flock to local beaches despite high levels of bacteria

Surfers flock toward local beaches...

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - Despite high levels of bacteria being reported on some local beaches, surfers are flocking to catch waves

“When there are waves, we surf and that is kind of what we do,” said surfer Merz Muller.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is warning beachgoers of high levels bacteria on 10 local beaches after last week’s mudslides brought debris down to the water.

Six beaches had unhealthy levels of total Coliform bacteria, while five had unhealthy levels of fecal Coliform bacteria.

The Health Department says a normal rainfall can bring unhealthy bacteria for up to three days, but last week's storm is unprecedented.

“Traditionally after any rain storm, we often have high bacteria levels for a couple of days but after this huge incident we’ve had here in Santa Barbara County, the bacteria levels in some beaches have stayed high for a number of days,” said Deputy Director Susan Klein-Rothschild.

“The water is dirty down here. That is why I didn’t surf that long,” said surfer Steve Brambach. “I don’t think I’m going to surf again today.”

The Public Health Department says exposure to an unhealthy level of bacteria can cause a skin infection or swallowing the water can cause a higher risk for GI related illness.

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