Santa Cruz County Water Quality Status
Week of October 14, 2019 (updated 10/16/19)
Santa Cruz County conducts weekly monitoring of more than a dozen local beaches in accordance with the State of California Recreational Water Program. The County issues health advisories when there are elevated levels of bacterial or other water quality concerns. Bacterial water quality was acceptable at ALL beaches monitored this week.
The water quality status for each monitoring location is displayed on on our on-line map where you can zoom-in on specific sites for the most recent data for each location. Please avoid swimming, wading, and other water-sports when there is a health advisory. Santa Cruz County has permanently posted several creeks and lagoons due to impaired water quality:
- Neary Lagoon outfall at Cowell Beach
- San Lorenzo River mouth
- Schwann Lagoon at Twin Lakes Beach
- Soquel Creek mouth at Capitola Beach
- Porter Gulch Creek at New Brighton Beach
- Aptos Creek at Rio del Mar Beach
Please be aware that water quality can deteriorate during and after rainfall. We recommend avoiding contact with ocean water for 72 hours (3 days) after storm events, especially near storm drains, creeks, and rivers.
CYANOBACTERIAL BLOOM UPDATE
As the water warms up in lakes and the lower reaches of rivers, seasonal 'blooms' of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) occur under certain conditions (presence of nitrogen and phosphorus, sunlight, semi-stagnant water). During October, the County is continuing to screen local freshwater sites for the presence of cyanobacteria and toxins (microcystin). Based on recent samples (week of October 7th), the levels of cyanobacterial toxins (microcystins) are below 1 part per billion at Pinto Lake. Elevated levels of microcystin were detected at Kelly Lake (above 5 parts per billion) and Corcoran Lagoon. The EPA standard for recreational water is 8 parts per billion. Please note that it is important to avoid swimming, wading, and other water-sports during a cyanobacterial bloom. When toxins are present in the lake, you could be inadvertently exposed from direct skin contact, swallowing water, or inhaling droplets. Cyanobacterial toxins can cause rashes, skin or eye irritations, stomach upsets, or other reactions. Also do not allow your pets to enter the water or drink from the shore. More information harmful algal blooms is available from