Health advisories issued for Mill and Harris beaches

By The Curry Coastal Pilot July 24, 2013 04:53 pm

The Oregon Health Authority today issued public health advisories due to higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Brookings’ Mill Beach and Harris Beach.

Water samples indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, which can result in diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. 

Direct contact with the surf or water running into the surf in these areas should be avoided until the advisories are lifted, especially for children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria.

While these advisories are in effect at Mill and Harris beaches, visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean. Even if there is no advisory in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm.

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.

State officials advise that the status of water contact advisories at beaches is subject to change. For the most recent information on advisories, please visit the Beach Monitoring Program website or call 971-673-0400, or 877-290-6767 toll-free. 

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.