Warnings posted at Ocean Beach for high bacteria levels
UPDATE 10:25 p.m. Jan. 24: The City has lifted all warnings at Ocean Beach and Fort Funston, based on new tests that show bacteria levels have fallen below maximum levels for safe water contact. A warning is still in place for part of Crissy Field, the only San Francisco beach still posted with a warning.
UPDATE 1:20 p.m. Jan. 22: Tests of water samples taken at Ocean Beach Saturday showed bacteria levels had fallen in the area between Pacheco Street and Sloat Boulevard, and the city lifted the water-contact warnings there.
The city also removed water-contact warnings for China Beach and Baker Beach.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission tested the water in other areas, and kept warnings in place for Ocean Beach between Balboa Street and Lincoln Way, as well as Fort Funston.
“The sample collected yesterday at Fort Funston indicates that elevated bacteria concentrations exceed state standards for water contact recreation,” the SFPUC stated in an email. “This station will remain posted and a sample will be collected there today. Sample results are not available today for Ocean Beach stations from Balboa to the foot of Lincoln. This portion of Ocean Beach will remain posted today.”
City officials have posted warnings against contact with the water at Ocean Beach due to high levels of bacteria in the water.
Signs warning beachgoers against swimming were visible Saturday morning along the beach from Sloat Boulevard north the Balboa Street.
According to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, recent rains overwhelmed the treatment capacity of the city’s wastewater systems, causing “combined sewer discharges” at Ocean Beach and Baker Beach. This means that wastewater from San Francisco’s combined sewer system —where water from gutters and storm drains is combined with water from sinks and toilets, and goes to the same treatment plants — was released after only partial treatment.
On Saturday morning, Fort Funston and China Beach were posted for high bacteria levels, adding them to Ocean Beach and Baker Beach as beaches affected by the combined sewer discharges. All of those beaches were scheduled to be tested again on Saturday, with results available Sunday.
San Francisco regularly monitors bacterial levels in the water at 14 stations on the city’s shores — including three on Ocean Beach, at Balboa Street, Lincoln Way and Sloat Boulevard.