If Pudding Creek bacteria problem persists, county may investigate • The Mendocino Voice | Mendocino County, CAThe Mendocino Voice

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FORT BRAGG, 05/24/22 – Pudding Creek Beach in Fort Bragg will continue to have warning signs advising people to stay out of the water at least until the test results of the state returned this Thursday, according to Marlayna Duley of Mendocino County Environmental Health.

On May 17, for the second time in less than a month, bacteriological quality sampling results from Pudding Creek Beach showed that seawater quality did not meet state standards. Five local beaches — Big River, Little River, Pudding Creek, Hare Creek and Caspar Beach — are tested by the county every Tuesday from April through October for the presence and levels of three species of bacteria that can be harmful to mammals and birds: coliforms, E. coli and enterococcus.

None of the other beaches have tested positive this year, although Hare Creek tested positive in 2021, which Duley said could be due to homeless encampments along the creek last year. She said if Pudding Creek tested positive for the third time in 2022, it might warrant a follow-up investigation. The beach has had two positive tests since testing restarted in April. The next test will take place this Tuesday, May 25, with results expected on Thursday.

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Tests cannot determine the exact source or cause of high levels of bacteria. Duley said the events may be caused by sewage runoff. Bacteria levels most often increase when floods occur.

Signs have been posted in Pudding Creek warning the public to avoid contact with the creek and seawater due to increased risk to human health. Contact with seawater should be avoided for 50 meters either side of the creek drainage where it enters the ocean.

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Pudding Creek Beach will remain posted with warning signs until water quality tests return that show the area now meets state-specified minimum standards.

For more information, please contact Duley with the Environmental Health Division at 707-234-6625.

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