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High bacteria levels at L.A. County beaches this Memorial Day weekend

Public health officials are urging beachgoers to avoid swimming, surfing and playing in the water at several Los Angeles County beaches during the Memorial Day weekend due to high levels of bacteria.

Popular beaches were reported to have ocean bacteria levels that exceed California standards and could cause illness to swimmers, especially children and older adults, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

In Malibu, warnings have been issued for Topanga Canyon Beach, Surfrider Beach and Latigo Shore Drive.

“Swimming in water contaminated by pathogenic bacteria can cause illness and skin infections,” a spokesperson for the Department of Health said in an email. “Fortunately, while swimming-related illnesses are unpleasant, they are usually not very serious and require little or no treatment.”

Contamination from runoff water can increase levels of bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, in the ocean, especially near storm drains and creeks, according to county health officials.

Here are the rest of the sites included in the county’s advisory for the weekend:

  • Marie Canyon storm drain at Puerco Beach
  • Las Flores Creek at Las Flores Beach
  • Mothers Beach in Marina del Rey

The Department of Public Health on Friday cleared Escondido Creek at Escondido Beach, Solstice Creek at Dan Blocker County Beach, and Pena Creek at Las Tunas County Beach. Recent sample results found water quality levels were within state standards in these areas.
Santa Monica Canyon Creek at Will Rogers State Beach and the Pico-Kenter storm drain at Santa Monica Beach were also cleared.

But officials advised against swimming near the Santa Monica Pier this Memorial Day weekend. Piers can attract birds, which may increase bacteria levels, and plumbing underneath could also release sewage into the ocean.

Beaches will have warning signs posted near the contaminated areas until further testing determines that the bacteria levels have decreased to state standards.

The county health department collects ocean water samples every Monday at 40 locations stretching from the border of Ventura County to south of Redondo Beach Pier.

People are asked to call the beach advisory hotline at (800) 525-5662 for current information about advisories and closures.

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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