CCLME.ORG - HSC Article 2 (commencing with HSC 115875) Ch. 5 Pt. 10 Div. 104
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State
California
HSC Sec 115875-115915 Public Beaches

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE
SECTION 115875-115915





115875. "Public beach," as used in this article, means any beach
area used by the public for recreational purposes that is owned,
operated, or controlled by the state, any state agency, any local
agency, or any private person in this state, and is located in the
coastal zone, as defined in Section 30103 of the Public Resources
Code, or within the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay
Conservation and Development Commission, as set forth in Section
66610 of the Government Code.



115880. (a) The department shall by regulation, in consultation
with local health officers and the public, establish minimum
standards for the sanitation of public beaches, including, but not
limited to, the removal of refuse, as it determines are reasonably
necessary for the protection of the public health and safety.
(b) Prior to final adoption by the department, the regulations and
standards required by this section shall undergo an external
comprehensive review process similar to the process set forth in
Section 57004 of the Health and Safety Code.
(c) The regulations shall, at a minimum, do all of the following,
by December 31, 1998:
(1) Require the testing of the waters adjacent to all public
beaches for microbiological contaminants, including, but not limited
to, total coliform, fecal coliform, and enterococci bacteria. The
department may require the testing of waters adjacent to all public
beaches for microbiological indicators other than those set forth in
this paragraph, or a subset of those set forth in this paragraph, if
the department affirmatively establishes, based on the best available
scientific studies and the weight of the evidence, that the
alternative indicators are as protective of the public health.
(2) Establish protective minimum standards for total coliform,
fecal coliform, and enterococci bacteria, or for other
microbiological indicators that the department determines are
appropriate for testing pursuant to paragraph (1).
(3) Establish protocols for all of the following:
(A) Determining monitoring site locations and monitoring frequency
based on risks to public health.
(B) Making decisions regarding public notification of health
hazards, including, but not limited to the posting, closing, and
reopening of public beaches.
(4) Require that the waters adjacent to public beaches be tested
for total coliform, fecal coliform, and enterococci bacteria, or for
other microbiological indicators that the department determines are
appropriate for testing pursuant to paragraph (1). Except as set
forth in paragraph (5), testing shall be conducted on at least a
weekly basis, from April 1 to October 31, inclusive, of each year,
beginning in 1999, if all of the following apply:
(A) The beach is visited by more than 50,000 people annually.
(B) The beach is located on an area adjacent to a storm drain that
flows in the summer.
(5) The monitoring frequency and locations established pursuant to
this subdivision and related regulations may only be reduced or
altered after the testing required pursuant to paragraph (4) reveals
levels of microbiological contaminants that do not exceed for a
period of two years the minimum protective standards established
pursuant to paragraph (2).
(d) The local health officer shall be responsible for testing the
waters adjacent to, and coordinating the testing of, all public
beaches within his or her jurisdiction.
(e) The local health officer may meet the testing requirements of
this section by utilizing test results from other agencies conducting
microbiological contamination testing of the waters under his or her
jurisdiction.
(f) Any city or county may adopt standards for the sanitation of
public beaches within its jurisdiction that are stricter than the
standards adopted by the state department pursuant to this section.
(g) Any duty imposed upon a local public officer or agency
pursuant to this section shall be mandatory only during a fiscal year
in which the Legislature has appropriated sufficient funds, as
determined by the State Director of Health Services, in the annual
Budget Act or otherwise for local agencies to cover the costs to
those agencies associated with the performance of these duties. The
State Director of Health Services shall annually, within 15 days
after enactment of the Budget Act, file a written statement with the
Secretary of the Senate and with the Chief Clerk of the Assembly
memorializing whether sufficient funds have been appropriated.



115885. The health officer having jurisdiction over the area in
which a public beach is created shall:
(a) Inspect the public beach to determine whether the standards
established pursuant to Section 115880 are being complied with. If
the health officer finds any violation of the standards, he or she
may restrict the use of, or close, the public beach or portion
thereof in which the violation occurs until the standard is complied
with.
(b) Investigate any complaint of a person of a violation of any
standard established by the department pursuant to Section 115880.
If the health officer finds any violation of the standards prescribed
by the department, he or she may restrict the use of, or close, the
public beach or portion thereof until the standard is complied with.
If the person who made the complaint is not satisfied with the
action taken by the health officer, he or she may report the
violation to the department. The department shall investigate the
reported violation, and, if it finds that the violation exists, it
may restrict the use of or close the public beach or portion thereof
until the standard violated is complied with.
(c) (1) Whenever a beach is posted, closed, or otherwise
restricted in accordance with Section 115915, the health officer
shall inform the agency responsible for the operation and maintenance
of the public beach within 24 hours of the posting, closure, or
restriction.
(2) The health officer shall establish a telephone hotline to
inform the public of all beaches currently closed, posted, or
otherwise restricted. The hotline shall be updated as needed in
order to convey changes in public health risks.
(d) Report any violation of the standards established pursuant to
Section 115880 to the district attorney, or if the violation occurred
in a city and, pursuant to Section 41803.5 of the Government Code,
the city attorney is authorized to prosecute misdemeanors, to the
city attorney.
(e) In the event of a known untreated sewage release, the local
health officer shall immediately test the waters adjacent to the
public beach and to take action pursuant to regulations established
under Section 115880.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the event of an
untreated sewage release that is known to have reached recreational
waters adjacent to a public beach, the local health officer shall
immediately close those waters until it has been determined by the
local health officer that the waters are in compliance with the
standards established pursuant to Section 115880.
(g) Any duty imposed upon a local public officer or agency
pursuant to this section shall be mandatory only during a fiscal year
in which the Legislature has appropriated sufficient funds, as
determined by the State Director of Health Services, in the annual
Budget Act or otherwise for local agencies to cover the costs to
those agencies associated with the performance of these duties. The
State Director of Health Services shall annually, within 15 days
after enactment of the Budget Act, file a written statement with the
Secretary of the Senate and with the Chief Clerk of the Assembly
memorializing whether sufficient funds have been appropriated.



115890. Prior to restricting the use of or closing a public beach
or portion thereof alleged to be in violation of standards, the
health officer, or the department as the case may be, shall give
reasonable notice of the violation to the owner of, or person or
agency in charge of, the beach.



115895. Any private person who violates any regulation adopted by
the state department pursuant to Section 115880 is guilty of a
misdemeanor.


115900. For the purposes of Sections 115900 to 115915, inclusive,
the following definitions apply:
(a) "Beach" means any public beach of the ocean waters and bays of
the state where water-contact sports are engaged in by the public.
(b) "Board" means the State Water Resources Control Board.
(c) "Health officer" means the legally appointed health officer or
director of environmental health of the county or city having
jurisdiction of the area in which a public saltwater beach is
located.



115905. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California's world-famous beaches are an invaluable economic,
environmental, and recreational resource that must be protected for
present and future generations. Millions of residents and visitors
alike visit the state's beaches annually.
(b) Pollution from toxic spills, untreated municipal sewage, and
agricultural and urban runoff threatens this critical resource.
(c) During 1989 through 1991 alone, at least 400 of the state's
beaches had to be posted "off-limits" due to dangerous levels of
bacterial and toxic contamination.
(d) Due to this pollution, local health officials were forced to
close one or more beaches between San Diego and Mendocino Counties
for all but 18 days in 1991.
(e) This contamination of our beaches poses serious threats to the
public's health, increasing the risk that persons who use the
beaches will suffer from hepatitis, gastroenteritis, and other
dangerous illnesses.
(f) Notwithstanding the importance and potential severity of this
problem, the state has never conducted a statewide survey to document
annual beach closings.
(g) The state does not have uniform testing protocols that must be
followed to ensure that the public is never exposed to dangerous
contamination at the state's beaches.
(h) The state does not have uniform standards requiring beach
postings when California Ocean Plan bathing water standards, as
adopted by the board pursuant to Section 13170.2 of the Water Code,
are exceeded.
(i) The state does not have uniform requirements mandating the
frequency with which beach waters must be tested to ensure public
safety. Beach water sampling currently varies greatly from county to
county. For example, Los Angeles County tests its beaches every
week of the year while other coastal counties test much less
frequently.
(j) More accurate and centralized recordkeeping on the relative
contributions of pollutant sources to beach closures would enable
more effective targeting of corrective actions to keep our beaches
safe and our coastal areas economically strong.



115910. (a) On or before the 15th day of each month, each health
officer shall submit to the board a survey documenting all beach
postings and closures resulting from implementation of Section 115915
that occurred during the preceding month. The survey shall, at a
minimum, include the following information:
(1) Identification of the beaches in each county subject to
testing conducted pursuant to Section 115885 and the amount and types
of monitoring conducted at each beach.
(2) Identification of the geographic location, areal extent, and
type of action taken for each incident of posting or closure
conducted pursuant to Section 115915. Geographic location and areal
extent shall be noted in sufficient detail to determine on a common
map, or by latitude and longitude, the approximate boundaries of the
affected beaches.
(3) Identification of the standards exceeded and the causes and
sources of the pollution, if known. Exceeded standards shall be
identified with sufficient particularity to determine which types of
tests and biological indicators were used to determine that an
exceeded standard exists. Causes of pollution shall be identified
with sufficient particularity to determine what substances, in
addition to any water carrying the substances, were responsible for
the exceeded standard. Sources shall be identified with sufficient
particularity to determine the most specific geographical origin of
the pollution sources available to the health officer at the time of
the posting or closure.
(b) Surveys conducted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be in a
specific format established by the board on or before February 1,
2001. The board shall make the format easily accessible to the
health officer through means that will enable the health officer to
most effectively carry out the requirements of this section and
enable the board to develop consistent, statewide data concerning the
effect and status of beach postings and closures in a particular
calendar year.
(c) On or before the 30th day of each month, the board shall make
available to the public the information provided by the health
officers. Based upon the data provided pursuant to subdivision (a),
the report shall, at a minimum, include the location and duration of
each beach closure and the suspected sources of the contamination
that caused the closure, if known.
(d) The board shall continuously post and update on its Web site,
but at a minimum, annually on or before July 30, information
documenting the beach posting and closure data provided to the board
by the health officers including the location and duration of each
beach closure and the suspected sources of the contamination that
caused the closure, if known.



115915. (a) Whenever any beach fails to meet the bacteriological
standards established pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 115880,
the health officer shall, at a minimum, post the beach with
conspicuous warning signs to inform the public of the nature of the
problem and the possibility of risk to public health.
(b) A warning sign shall be visible from each legal primary beach
access point, as identified in the coastal access inventory prepared
and updated pursuant to Section 30531 of the Public Resources Code,
and any additional access points identified by the health officer.
(c) Any duty imposed upon a local public officer or agency
pursuant to this section shall be mandatory only during a fiscal year
in which the Legislature has appropriated sufficient funds, as
determined by the State Director of Health Services, in the annual
Budget Act or otherwise for local agencies to cover the costs to
those agencies associated with the performance of these duties. The
State Director of Health Services shall annually, within 15 days
after enactment of the Budget Act, file a written statement with the
Secretary of the Senate and with the Chief Clerk of the Assembly
memorializing whether sufficient funds have been appropriated.