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In Case You Were Going To Swim Near A Storm Drain, Just Don't (Unless You Want Diarrhea And GI Nightmares)

The shoreline in Malibu, California. (James Bernal for LAist)
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Robert Garrova and Jessica Ogilvie contributed to this report.

Here's your annual reminder that swimming in certain parts of the ocean during the rainy season could mean tangling with pathogens that cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, among other ailments.

The Los Angeles County of Public Health has issued a water quality advisory letting residents know that areas around storm drains, creeks and rivers are potentially contaminated with ground runoff, which, according to county health officer Dr. Muntu Davis, could include some pretty gnarly stuff.

"After a rainfall, the water and runoff from the streets, yards and all around go into the storm drain," Davis said. "They carry lots of contaminants - pet waste or animal waste, litter, automobile fluids, fertilizers, pesticides, things like that. It drains into the storm drains, which empty out into the ocean."

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Those pollutants cause elevated bacteria in the water, which could lead to infections if ingested.

Davis added that, while an elevated risk exists after a storm, pollutants can get into the water at any time.

"It could also come as well with people watering their grass, cleaning off their driveways, using a hose to rinse it down," he said.

In general, water quality advisories can stay in place for up to three days, depending on the amount of rain and volume of runoff. Runoff prevention is possible, but relies on choices made by individuals and communities.

"It's what we do in terms of our neighborhoods and our society, making sure that we don't have trash on the street, that we recycle motor oil and that we pick up after our pets... clean up waste in the yard, [use] natural fertilizer and other nontoxic substances out in our yards," said Davis. "It's all very helpful."

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The current advisory is in place until Thursday morning, but additional storms headed for SoCal on Wednesday could extend that date.