The San Luis Obispo Chapter has been documenting local water quality testing results for over ten years! The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is the Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer water quality monitoring program that provides critical water quality information to protect public health at local beaches. Water quality samples are tested for the presence of enterococcus, a fecal bacteria that indicates the presence of human or animal waste in the water. Elevated levels of enterococcus increase the likelihood that other pathogens that can make people sick may be present.
The goal of BWTF is to fill in monitoring gaps and quickly communicate with the public where it is safe to swim, and where bacteria levels are elevated. Water quality results are compared to the standards used by the California Water Resources Control Board to issue swim advisories, specifically greater than 104 colony forming units of enterococcus per 100mL sample (104 CFU/100mL). Beachgoers should take precautions swimming, surfing, or recreating after heavy rain events for 72 hours. Do not enter brown water areas, or where there is a warning sign for high bacteria levels.
The San Luis Obispo BWTF monitors 21 sampling sites for water quality on a weekly basis from Pismo Beach in the south to San Simeon Cove in the north. Over the last ten years, the chapter’s BWTF has become increasingly concerned with high bacteria levels at their sampling sites along San Luis Obispo Creek. San Luis Obispo (SLO) Creek flows through a natural channel on the east side of US 101, before spilling out into the Pacific Ocean at San Luis Obispo Bay, just west of Avila Beach.
Details about the Surfrider San Luis Obispo BWTF were featured on a national blog here. To view the full 10-year report, click here. To keep up to date with the chapter’s BWTF water quality results, check out the BWTF online map.