- NEW! Version 2.2 of our VC Safe Beaches App is now available in the App Store
- NEW!Interactive Map and Sampling Results
- Log of Beach Postings
- Ocean Water FAQ
- Ocean Water Program Brochure
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.
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:
- VC Safe Beaches Smart Phone App
- Web site updates
- Posting of warning signs
- Telephone hotline
- Press releases
40 sites are sampled during the Dry-Weather season (April to October) and 19 sites are sampled during the Wet-Weather season (November to March). Maps of these beach locations can be found on our web page: Sample Results. Our sampling sites have been selected based on the numbers of public use and their proximity to a storm drain outfall (not outflow). Outfalls include pipes, culverts, rivers, creeks and streams. Ocean water samples are collected in ankle-to-knee deep water and tested for three bacteria indicators: total coliform; fecal coliform; and enterococcus. These bacteria indicators, at sufficient concentrations, can indicate the presence of other strains of bacteria, viruses and protozoa in the ocean water that may cause illness.
Water samples are analyzed for concentrations of each of these "indicators" and the results are compared to the State standards for bacteria. These results are entered on our web page: Interactive Map NEW! 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 warning signs advising 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 advisory remains in effect and the warning sign will remain posted until the next sampling results indicate that the ocean water meets State standards for bacteria. To protect yourself from a recreational water illness, avoid body contact with ocean water should be avoided for a minimum of 50 yards on either side of each posted sign.
Ocean Water Program Staff Specialist
Links to other Ocean Water Related Websites
- Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
- USEPA Beaches
- Ventura Beaches - Clean Water Act 303(d) Listed Impaired Waterbodies - Regional Waterboard Staff Report 2019 (PDF)
- Santa Barbara County - Ocean Water Monitoring
- Los Angeles County - Ocean Water Monitoring
- Ventura County Stormwater Quality Management Program
- Orange County Ocean Water Monitoring
- Southern California Coastal Water Research Project
- Ocean Forecasts
Questions about the Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Program? Contact Us!
Ventura County Environmental Health Division Main Office: (805) 654 - 2813