About Beaches

The Recreational Waters Program routinely collects ocean water samples every Monday at 40 sampling sites extending from the Ventura/Los Angeles County border to south of the Redondo Beach pier. In addition, five samples are collected at Avalon Beach on Catalina from April through October. Samples are collected in the surf zone and analyzed by the Department of Public Health laboratory for total coliform, E. coli and enterococcus bacteria.

Water contact in ocean water with elevated bacteria levels may cause illness. Beach users are cautioned to avoid water contact near flowing creeks and storm drains.

Beach Advisory & Closure Hotline: 1-800-525-5662

The Recreational Waters Program routinely collects ocean water samples in the surf zone and is analyzed by the Department of Public Health laboratory for total coliform, E. coli and enterococcus bacteria.

We monitor and review Ocean Water Monitoring Results from the Los Angeles City, Bureau of Sanitation, Hyperion treatment plant and the Los Angeles County Sanitation District. The Hyperion treatment plant's laboratory makes available to our program, daily bacteriological data for 10 shore stations and weekly bacteriological data for 34 shore stations. The Los Angeles County Sanitation District makes available, weekly bacteriological data for 8 shore stations. Water is analyzed for total coliform, fecal coliform, and enterococcus bacteria.

  • Beaches are posted with warning signs when bacteria levels exceed State ocean water quality standards. Beaches remain posted with warning signs until tests indicate that bacteria levels meet State standards.
  • Beaches are closed when a suspected or real sewage discharge to ocean waters occurs or elevated bacteriological levels can be linked to a known sewage discharge. Samples are collected from the affected areas and the beaches are kept closed until sampling data indicates that bacteria levels meet State standards.
  • A rain advisory is issued anytime there is significant rainfall that may cause bacterial levels to exceed State standards in ocean waters. The advisory stays in effect for 72 hours after rainfall has ended.
  • We investigate complaints of beach sanitation, illegal discharges, sewage spills and areas of high chronic bacteria levels.

The Ocean Monitoring- Beaches program is subject to the California Health & Safety Code, California Code of Regulations Titles 17, and 22, California Building Code Title 24, Los Angeles County Code Title 11. This program is under the Recreational Waters program from the Department of Public Health in Los Angeles county that uphold State and local laws and regulations in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and within the jurisdiction of contract cities pertaining to Beaches. Please note for beaches that reside in the Pasadena, Long Beach, or Vernon, review local guidelines to remain in compliance.

Ocean Water Monitoring in Other Counties

WARNING sign with the YELLOW background

Warning Sign with Yellow Background

The warning sign with the yellow background is used in areas of the beach where testing indicates that bacteria levels exceed State bacteriological standards. Contact with ocean water in these areas may cause individuals to become ill. Avoid water contact where signs are posted and areas between posted signs. Signs are normally posted every 50 yards.


WARNING sign with the WHITE background

Warning Sign with White Background

The warning sign with the white background is used at or near storm drains to warn people of elevated bacteria levels at or adjacent to the storm drain. Contact with ocean water in these areas may cause individuals to become ill. Avoid water contact where signs are posted and areas between posted signs. Signs are normally posted every 50 yards.


BEACH CLOSED sign with the Red background

Beach Closed Sign with Red Background

The beach closed sign with the red background is used when there is a sewage spill or chemical discharge affecting ocean waters. It means the water is contaminated and individuals should avoid any and all water contact. Avoid water contact where signs are posted and areas between posted signs.


Beach water quality advisories sign

Beach Water Quality Advisories Sign

The beach water quality advisories sign is used to provide links to beach water quality information via a QR code and website link to the Beach Advisories page of the Environmental Health website, and by providing the Beach Water Quality Hotline phone number. Signs may be posted at beach entrances and at the beach.


Report a Problem

To report after hours beach emergencies, contact the Los Angeles County Operator at (213) 974-1234.

If you observe code violations or would like to file a complaint, you may report this issue by calling the Recreational Waters Program (626) 430-5360 or File a Complaint Online.

Contact Us

Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Tel: (626) 430-5360
Fax: (626) 813-3016
Email: rhealth@ph.lacounty.gov

County of Los Angeles Public Health
Environmental Health
Recreational Waters Program
5050 Commerce Drive
Baldwin Park, CA 91706-1423