Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fecal Matters: High Bacteria Levels at Howarth Park in Snohomish County

BEACH Program Update

Marine water sampling has identified high bacteria levels at Howarth Park. The beaches will be resampled tomorrow morning and results will be available Friday.

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.

Visit the BEACH web site to find the latest results for these and other saltwater beaches:

Jessica Bennett is the Acting BEACH Program Manager and can be reached at

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