Swimming in Swill

When it rains, nasty stuff flows into the Bay, creating health risks beyond typical cold water concerns like thermal shock, hypothermia, cold urticaria (hives), and an addictive irrational desire to do it again. These rain risks include an increase in sewage and bacteria concentrations.

Water Levels Safe Today!

Once the bacteria levels increase, the park service posts signs indicating a bio-hazard risk. The signs and online notifications post the day after testing. The thing is, by the time the signs appear and the websites get updated, the health risk levels typically return to the normal/safe range.

The San Francisco Bay drains water from 40% of California. The water drains from the Sierra Nevada and Santa Cruz Mountains as well as multiple rivers.* With so much water flowing through the Bay as well as the cleaner ocean water entering the bay through normal tidal patterns, nature flushes the evil contaminants and the waters quickly return to safe levels.

I swim before, during and after rainstorms. At some point, I might contract some awful, evil bay induced bacteria or disease, but I sure hope not. Some swims, like the swim around Manhattan, even suggested swimmers get shots before getting in the water.

Another rainstorm just dumped on Northern California. Although no warnings were posted today, I expect the run-off contaminated the beaches where they measure the bacteria levels. So here's the rub - water gets tested at the beach**, not where we swim. But to get to the area where we swim, we enter the water at the beach and do our best to avoid swallowing the swill.

I've been out of the water for a few hours, and so far so good!



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