SANTA MONICA—On December 22, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LACDPH) sent out a public health warning for area beaches including Malibu and Santa Monica about bacteria in the water.

“An Ocean Water Quality Rain Advisory has been declared for all Los Angeles County beaches. The advisory will be in effect at least until 8:00 pm, Friday, December 22, 2023. Beach users are cautioned to avoid water contact for at least 72 hours after significant rainfall. This advisory may be extended depending upon further rainfall,” read a statement from the LACDPH website.

They are reminding the public that beach water quality testing is done routinely.

“A beach is closed anytime there is a known sewage or chemical spill impacting ocean waters. Water contact may cause someone to become ill,” the LACDPH noted. 

“A rain advisory is issued when there is significant rainfall that may cause bacteria levels in ocean waters to increase. Bacteria levels can increase significantly during and after rainstorms, as contaminants within the runoff enter the ocean. Bacteria levels may remain elevated for up to three days depending upon the intensity of the rain and the volume of runoff. Elevated bacteria levels in ocean water may cause illness, especially in children and the elderly. The Department of Public Health recommends that beach users avoid contact with ocean water for three days after significant rainfall, especially near flowing storm drains, creeks, and rivers.”

Malibu received a bacterium warning alerting the public to avoid contact with ocean water, creeks, and streams for at least three days following rainfall to avoid sickness from contamination.

According to the National Weather Service, heavy rainfall is expected throughout Southern California with upwards of eight inches of rain possible in some areas.