Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Program


The purpose of this program is to assure the protection of human health and of the environment through the routine monitoring of coastal marine waters for bacteria contamination, to provide information as to the bacteriological quality of these waters, and to coordinate with private organizations and public agencies.

Ocean Water Monitoring

In September 1998, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors directed the Environmental Health Division to develop a program to monitor the bacteriological quality of ocean water at Ventura County beaches. The Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Program (OWQMP) was developed with the primary purpose of providing the public with accurate and timely information about the bacteriological quality of ocean water.

This information is conveyed via:

40 public beaches are sampled each week along the entire 42 miles of Ventura County coastline. Maps of these beach locations can be found on our web page: Beaches and Sampling Results. Our sampling sites have been selected based on the numbers of public use and their proximity to storm drain outflows. Storm drains include pipes, culverts, rivers, creeks and streams. Ocean water samples are collected in ankle-to-knee deep water and tested for three different "indicator" bacteria: total coliform; fecal coliform; and enterococcus. These three "indicators," at sufficient concentrations, indicate the potential presence of other bacteria (pathogens) in the ocean water that may cause human illness.

Water samples are analyzed for concentrations of each of these "indicators" and the results are compared to the State standards. These results are entered on our web page: Beaches and Sampling Results as they become available but no later than each Thursday by 5:00 p.m. If any of the State standards are not met, the beach is posted with signs warning the public to avoid body contact with the ocean water. This information is also made available on our hotline (805-662-6555), and in press releases distributed to the media. The health warning stays in effect for the beach until resampling indicates that the ocean water meets State standards.

Links to other Ocean Water Related Websites



Charles Genkel


Program Coordinator:

Sean Debley

805 654-2821