Storm Prompts Health Advisory for SoCal Beaches | NBC Southern California

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Storm Prompts Health Advisory for SoCal Beaches

Heavy rains could push debris from city streets and mountain areas into the water.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Residents were warned to be careful of bacteria, trash and debris near storm drains, creeks and rivers after heavy rains. Patrick Healy reports from Santa Monica for the NBC4 News at Noon Dec. 3, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014)

    Southern California beachgoers are being warned about debris, trash and bacteria near storm drains and rivers as a powerful storm soaked the region.

    LA County health officials cautioned swimmers and surfers to stay away from sites where rain could push debris and trash from city streets and mountain areas into the water. 

    The runoff may contain harmful chemicals and bacteria that could contaminate the water. The struggle to contain that runoff and recycle it continues to be a challenge for Southern California as billions of gallons of water are flushed out with each heavy storm.

    "An average rain storm, we lose 10 billion gallons of water to the sea," said Sarah Sikich with Heal the Bay. "Our wet weather is really when the largest pollutants are flushed out into the bay."

    Rains Pose Runoff Risk at SoCal Beaches

    [LA] Rains Pose Runoff Risk at SoCal Beaches
    Progress has been made in reducing the amount of trash and debris washed into the ocean by rain runoff, but public health officials believe there was enough in this week's rain to once again warn beach-goers to avoid areas near storm channel outflows. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014)

    But a runoff filter near the Santa Monica Pier helps collect some of the trash before it goes to the ocean.

    "We're screening it, separating out all the solids," said Neal Shapiro, who helps coordinate watershed programs for Santa Monica.

    One such program, the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility, captures and recycles runoff from sprinklers and other sources not related to rain.

    "We use it for spray irrigation and for toilet flushing," Shapiro said.

    Areas of SoCal beaches that are not near discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers are not included in the advisory, which is in effect until Thursday at 6 p.m.

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