I have been working along side Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, Ventura Public Health, and Ventura Waters, and some affiliates of CSU Channel Islands on a water quality project.
In my research with SCCWRP, we run water quality tests to indicate the amount of fecal pollution around two local Ventura County beaches: Surfer’s Point and Surfer’s Knolls.
Why do we test beach water?
Coastlines contaminated with fecal matter can cause many health issues to those who enjoy recreational waters. According to World Health Organization (WHO), recreational waters are rivers, lakes, and beaches where people go to enjoy activities such as swimming, surfing, boating, and fishing. Recreational water contamination can occur from treated and untreated human sources, from wastewater treatment facilities, as well as runoff from agriculture, and storm water (Nappier et al. 2019). Although many wastewater facilities focus on the removal of many inactive bacteria during the treatment process, they tend to still leave behind many viruses (Griffin et al 2003). During a storm, the waves get larger, making it a better surfing experience for surfers. However, these waters are most at risk of contamination. This is due to stormwater runoff being polluted from everyday activities and then making its into our waterways.
I want to continue figuring out the root causes and finding ways to prevent this pollution and promote resiliency because it is a critical component of ensuring the future of public health.