Friday, July 30, 2010

Fecal Matters: Swimming Advisory Issued for Freeland County Park, Holmes Harbor

BEACH Program Update

Marine water samples collected Wednesday, July 28th at Freeland County Park, Holmes Harbor showed elevated counts of fecal bacteria. Island County Public Health has issued a swimming advisory.

Increased pathogen and fecal bacteria levels in marine waters can come from both shore and inland sources. Inland sources can consist of stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems and even animal waste from livestock, pets, and wildlife. Shore sources can consist of swimmers, boats, marine mammals, birds, and other wildlife. We often observe high bacteria results following rain events. In general, the BEACH Program recommends avoiding contact with marine waters 48 hours following rainfall.

Contact with fecal contaminated waters can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Children and the elderly may be more vulnerable to waterborne illnesses.

An advisory has been issued for this beach. Visit the BEACH Map to see beach closures across the coast and sound. Surf the web before you surf the beach!

Jessica Bennett is the BEACH Program Data Manager.
She is available at 360-407-6159 or for questions.

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