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DON’T GO TO THE BEACH TODAY UNLESS YOU HAVE GOT A DEATH WISH

Published 12/1/2007 on the District Weekly, Daily Briefing

Today, after you’ve opened the first little window on your Advent Calendar, do pretty much anything but go to the beach. It rained yesterday. It’s a big-and-stinkin’ mess down there now. Did we mention unhealthy? Let’s get right to mentioning it.

Better yet, let’s let City Health Officer Dr. Helene Calvet mention it:

“All persons are urged not to swim in local waters for at least 72 hours after the last rainfall. After significant rainful (0.10 inches or more) high levels of bacteria from storm drain runoff and rivers will pollute the ocean waters.”

Okay, so Dr. Calvet didn’t exactly use the word “unhealthy.” But she did issue a Public Health Beach Advisory for the Long Beach waterfront. Do you actually need somebody to spell it out for you?

Great! That’s what Ed Kamlan is for. He’s the chief speller-outer for the City of Long Beach Public Information Department. Get a load of his latest:

Storm drain runoff containing bacteria from animal waste, litter, fertilizers, motor oils, decomposing vegetation and other contamination flows into the ocean and City beaches, and can cause illnesses in swimmers who are exposed.

Exposure to contaminated water with high levels of bacteria may lead to flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal illness including  diarrhea and vomiting, skin rash and infections, and eye infections. People should especially avoid runoff from storm drain outlets, river mouths, streams and lagoons, and should always pay particular attention to any warning signs at the beach for their safety.

If that isn’t enough, you can call the Health Department’s Water Quality Information Thanks-For-Not-Calling-It-Hot Line at (562) 570-4199 or go to the Health Department’s website at www.longbeach.gov/health.

And if that’s not enough? Go for a swim. Please Splash around real good. Swallow lots of water. Have somebody bury you up to your neck in gushy black sand. Knock yourself out.  You deserve it.

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