Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 10/16/2009
Subject: Public Health Warning Rescinded
Contact: Harriet Hill, Registered Environmental Health Specialist
Phone: 707-445-6215

Public Health Warning Rescinded for Mad River, Clam, and Old Home Beaches But Remains in Effect for Luffenholtz Beach

The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Health Division (EHD) is notifying the public that the October 14 public health warning to avoid water contact has been rescinded for Mad River, Clam, and Moonstone beaches. Water quality samples collected yesterday show that no state health standards were exceeded at these beaches.

However, EHD has not rescinded the warning to recreational users to avoid water contact with the ocean water, and creek associated with Luffenholtz Beach. The water sample collected yesterday for this beach exceeded the state standard for Enterococcus faecalis. Enterococcus is a type of “indicator” bacteria whose presence often is associated with that of disease-causing bugs. These indicator bacteria do not usually cause illness in swimmers. However, high levels of these indicators mean that the water may be contaminated with other pathogens that can make people sick. Luffenholtz Beach will be sampled again for bacteria on October 20, along with the other five beaches that are monitored weekly through the end of October.

Water quality data for the beaches monitored by the EHD is posted on the Humboldt County website at: This website includes the retesting results for the posted beaches, which are always made available on the Friday after the initial warning. They can be viewed by clicking on “Current Water Quality Test Results.” The yellow warning signs are removed from the beaches as soon as tests indicate that the beach waters do not exceed the standards. For further information, please contact the EHD at 445-6215.


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