There’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment about how COVID-19 spreads. But what we do know is that raw sewage is rife with pathogens of all kinds—and spills of untreated sewage spike during a rainstorm.
For this reason, it’s especially important that swimmers avoid the Bay during this time. April rains will likely cause untreated sewage to enter the Bay.
Baykeeper customarily advises people to stay out of the open water for 72 hours after heavy rains because pathogens can enter the Bay from overloaded sewage treatment facilities. However, because there is so much still unknown about COVID-19, the best precaution is to stay out of the water until we know more.
And remember: sewage released during a rainstorm stays in the Bay for days afterwards. Even if it’s sunny skies in the hours and days after a rain, sewage may still be present.
This is one of the many reasons Baykeeper has been fighting for Bay Area cities to fix and upgrade faulty sewer infrastructure—the leading cause of sewage spills into the Bay.