A popular North County surf spot was recently deemed too dirty to swim in after test samples revealed high bacteria levels in the water and county health officials don't know why.
On Sept. 10, the county health department posted an advisory at a Cayucos beach near Studio Drive after discovering high levels of fecal coliform and enterococci, which exceeded state standards.
According to Richard Lychtenfels, a SLO County supervising environmental health specialist, this type of bacterial contamination is unusual for Cayucos beaches this time of year.
"In the wintertime, runoff and rain hits the beaches and brings the bacteria with it," he said. "But for this to happen in the summertime is not common in Cayucos."
According to Lychtenfels, the very young and old, or people with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to contract an illness from swimming in tainted ocean waters. Signs of bacterial sickness may include eye, ear, nose, and throat infections.
County health officials have retested the water and are awaiting the results.
For current ocean water health standards, call the SLO County ocean water monitoring program hotline at 788-3411.