The rains have arrived in California and with them you might think the ocean experiences a cleaning, healing effect. Unfortunately what happens instead is the trash that sits all year long in gutters, viaducts, drainage ditches and river beds gets swept with the currents that flow from inland cities to the sea. What a mess the Pacific Ocean can be!
Shown in photo is one Seal Beach hero (and there are many), Dave Buffet, who cleans up carts and metal objects that wash to the sea during rains, posing dangers to beach-goers, surfers, and ocean life. You can read what Buffet does to help out.
There are 17 counties in California that enjoy beaches, bays and ocean access and all of them currently are on alert with advisories. DON'T GO IN THE WATER for 72 hours after the rains have ended. While the amount of beach frontage (around 1,000 miles) is too vast to simply close, there are 59 specific beach closures in California as we ring in 2011 and ring our hands.
Tip 1: Wait 72 hours (3 days) after a rain storm as pollutants accumulating on the streets and in the catch basins get whisked through the storm drain system to the ocean. Bacteria levels in the Bay increase dramatically!
Tip 2: Swim at least 100 yards away from where the storm drain flow enters the surf. You are twice as likely to get sick if you swim in front of a flowing storm drain due to increased bacteria concentrations from urban runoff.
Tip 3: Do not play and don't let your kids play in storm drain puddles-those shallow puddles of water on the sand between a storm drain and the surf . They may appear safe, warm and inviting for children, but this water is urban runoff, filled with bacteria. It can make you sick! There may not always be warning signs surrounding puddles of urban runoff, but this water is never safe for swimming.