Recent spike in bacteria levels due to heavy rains

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The Heal the Bay Surfrider Club’s Teach and Test program has charted the effects of weather trends on the Enterococcus Faecalis bacteria levels for three years now. The highest amount of bacteria it has recorded was this year on October 5th, as the first rains of the season broke through the sand barrier and brought the water from the Pico-Kenter storm drain directly into the ocean. However, recent heavy rains have brought the levels of bacteria back up to dangerous levels.

The healthy amount of bacteria ranges from zero to thirty five bacterial colonies per one hundred milliliters. Dangerous conditions begin at one hundred and fifty six bacterial colonies. The levels after the rain on the morning of April 11th were 219 at the Santa Monica Pier, 1,114 at Lifeguard Tower 26, and 5,785 at the Pico-Kenter Storm Drain.

Although it is a safe assumption that the quantity of fecal bacteria should increase after rains of this magnitude, the results should not be this devastating. The results are consistently much higher at the mouth of the storm drain. This is a direct reflection of our pollution and impact on the environment.