Health officials are warning beachgoers to stay out of the water at four popular Los Angeles-area beaches due to high bacteria levels.

The affected beaches are:

  • Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica
  • Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey
  • Inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro
  • Topanga Canyon Beach in Malibu

“These warnings have been issued due to bacterial levels exceeding health standards when last tested,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a news release Monday afternoon.

Ocean Water Quality Map. Aug. 29, 2022. (LA County Public Health Department)

The exact reason for the increased levels of bacteria is unclear. The Public Health Department monitors the levels, but doesn’t conduct studies to determine individual causes for the increases.

Bacterial levels can fluctuate due to a number of reasons, including trash at the beach or ocean debris, like fresh seaweed. An increase in beachgoers or more birds in the area than usual could also play a factor, Public Health officials said.

Beachgoers are urged to avoid swimming, surfing and playing in the water due to possible health illnesses associated with bacteria.

The most common illness is gastroenteritis which comes from swallowing polluted water. Symptoms include stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, headache or fever.

Other illnesses include ear, eye, throat or skin infections and swimmers who come in contact with highly polluted water could be exposed to even more serious diseases, Public Health said.

As for when the beaches will reopen? That all depends.

The Health Department tests the bacteria levels regularly and the advisories will be lifted once they meet standards set by the state of California. It takes about 24 hours after the samples were collected for the results of those tests to come in.