Beach Water Quality Advisories

This is a measure of the monthly number of advisories for San Diego beaches.

How are we doing?

Swimmers, surfers, and other ocean users are able to make informed decisions before entering the water as a result of the Beach and Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program.
San Diego beaches are a destination for millions of residents and visitors each year.  The County's Beach and Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program performs water quality sampling, acts as a clearing house for beach water quality monitoring data from other agencies and notifies the public when water quality standards are not met at recreational beaches (ocean and bays).  The Beach and Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program coordinates the sampling and posting of signs warning of contaminated water when monitoring indicates bacteria levels exceed state standards, when beaches are affected by sewage spills, or during other events that may pose a threat to public health.

How is this measured?

The Department of Environmental Health conducts routine water quality sampling and monitors rain events.  There are three advisory types: General (Rain), Precautionary and Bacterial Exceedance. Monthly totals are categorized by type.
Advisories are issued when beach water quality may exceed health standards.  Closures are issued when sewage or other chemical spills impact or can potentially impact beach water quality.
For current, location-specific, beach water quality status information, visit:

Why is this important?

San Diego beaches are one of the most valuable treasures where residents and visitors choose to recreate.  Our goal is to educate the public on the importance of water quality and how they can protect themselves.  Notifying the public about water quality allows them to make informed decisions prior to entering the water and raises awareness of what enters our storm drains.

Where are we going?

There is significant interest in San Diego’s beaches and the associated water quality.  Nearly all beach water quality issues are caused by some type of surface water runoff or discharge. As a result, beach water quality sampling is focused on a number of different surface water runoff sources such as storm drains or rivers which transport pollutants from inland areas to San Diego beaches.  Although ocean water quality is outside the control of the Beach and Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program, through continued monitoring and providing current water quality information to the public, we all can make safe and informed decisions on where to swim, surf, and play.
The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) enhances San Diegans' quality of life by protecting public health and safeguarding environmental quality, educating the public to increase environmental awareness, and implementing and enforcing local, state, and federal environmental laws.  For more information visit our website at