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County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening of Goleta Beach County Park Ocean Waters

Post Date:05/14/2018 9:01 AM

As a follow up to the previous information we provided on Goleta Beach, here’s an update from the County. 

Santa Barbara County Press Release

In order to re-open Goleta Beach County Park ocean waters to the community, the County of Santa Barbara has retained a professional firm for assistance.  The firm Geosyntec will provide guidance on options to expedite clearing of the waters at the Park.  The waters at Goleta Beach have been closed since January 11, 2018 due to heightened levels of bacteria including coliform, fecal coliform and enterococcus.

To ensure the public is safe and will not become ill from high bacteria levels in the ocean, certain guidelines must be met through testing.  Two consecutive ocean water tests must meet the California State Department of Public Health guidelines for these substances.  The County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department has tested the waters at Goleta Beach, at three distinct locations, twice a week since early January. While bacteria levels have reduced, spikes in levels of bacteria continue. Regretfully, the waters have not cleared as quickly as anticipated.  Goleta Beach Park is open and the recreation area and shoreline is accessible to visitors.  The waters remain closed.

“With summer around the corner it is important to do everything we can now to ensure that the ocean is accessible and safe so all can enjoy Goleta Beach County Park.  It is time for Goleta Beach to recover. Hiring an expert to advise us how to address the bacteria in the ocean water is critical so we can return this resource to our community,” stated Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf.

Geosyntec, with an office located in Santa Barbara, is a specialized consulting and engineering firm that works to solve complex problems involving the environment and natural resources.   Geosyntec’s broadly experienced firm includes a specific discipline of engineers that focus on water quality assessment, management and restoration.  They have completed numerous projects throughout the United States for the specific purpose of improving water quality.

The County of Santa Barbara is also working cooperatively with City of Goleta officials.  All are committed to ensuring that the ocean waters are restored and reopened allowing the community to continue to fully enjoy Goleta Beach County Park.

"While Goleta Beach is under Santa Barbara County's jurisdiction, it is widely used by City of Goleta residents," said Mayor Paula Perotte. She continued, "We greatly appreciate the leadership of Supervisor Janet Wolf and efforts of Santa Barbara County personnel in seeking to reopen closed areas of Goleta Beach as soon as possible. We also appreciate their seeking alternative actions for potential future emergencies."

Following the 1/9 debris flow, which affected the unincorporated community of Montecito, approximately 40,000 cubic yards of debris was hauled to Goleta Beach from January 11, 2018 to February 20, 2018. Materials deposited met permitting requirements of the Regional Water Control Board (RWQCB), the California Coastal Commission and Army Corps of Engineers and were sorted to be free of large rocks, woody material and trash. The RWQCB mandated testing of materials as a component of their permit conditions and deemed the sediment met standards for placement in the surf zone.  Ocean waters were expected to clear and have safe levels of bacteria within a few months of deposits ending. However, the clearing was contingent on many factors including but not limited to weather, wave action and additional runoff from winter storms.  In addition to Goleta Beach, material was also deposited on Carpinteria Ash Avenue Beach.  These deposits stopped on February 9, 2018 and waters in this location have cleared as anticipated.

Updates on the status of the ocean water testing and the status of Goleta Beach County Park can be found at www.ReadySBC.org