BEACH Program Update
The Mason County Health Department closed Twanoh State Park to swimming today. Routine monitoring of the marine water showed elevated bacteria levels and additional samples confirmed the pollution is persisting.
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 beach closures, swimming advisories and the latest results for these and other saltwater beaches: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/eap/beach/
Stay updated about water quality at your beaches by keeping up with us on our blog Fecal Matters, on Facebook, or join our listserv.
Julie Lowe is the BEACH Program Manager and is available at 360-407-6543 or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.