Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fecal Matters: 2014 marine swimming beach results are in!

Curious to see how your favorite beach fared for healthy swimming last year? See how the 2014 swimming season stacked up. In the BEACH Program 2014 Annual Report you'll find the top swimming beaches for water quality, beach water quality by county, and beaches that did not meet swimming standards.

See the good, the best, and the "poopy" marine swimming beaches for 2014. Did your favorite beach make the list for the top swimming beaches? Or, did it make the list of beaches that were closed to recreation due to high levels of fecal bacteria?

Why does it matter?

Anyone who uses marine beaches for recreational purposes such as swimming, scuba diving, surfing or kayaking can be exposed to illness associated with water contaminated by sewage. 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.

How does poop get in the water?

Fecal bacteria get into the water in a number of ways. Some of it is natural, and a small amount of fecal bacteria does not pose a threat to public health. Water at a beach can rise to an unhealthy level for many reasons.

These include septic tanks that are not properly maintained, large amounts of sewage discharged from sewers overflowing during heavy rain or recreational boaters, wild animals congregating due to people feeding them, dogs pooping on beaches, used diapers being left on the beach, and others. Learn how you can help keep your beach clean on our website.

More about BEACH

The Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication, and Health program, nicknamed BEACH for short, monitors marine beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This program is a joint effort with the Washington State Department of Health and county and local agencies, tribal nations, and volunteers.

The BEACH program helps keep swimmers healthy on the coast and across Puget Sound by testing marine beaches for fecal bacteria and issuing public beach closure notices if the results show the water might pose a health risk. BEACH does not test freshwater beaches located on rivers and lakes.

Click the map to see if your beach is open.
Remember, many beaches are only monitored Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Stay updated about water quality at your beaches by subscribing to our Fecal Matters RSS feed, checking the beach closure map on Coastal Atlas, or joining our listserv. You can contact the BEACH program manager Debby Sargeant with questions.

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