Friday, October 14, 2016

Fecal Matters: Health Risks After Heavy Rainfall

BEACH Program Update

When the sun comes out after it’s been raining for a while, people often flock to the beach. But be cautious. With a heavy rainfall water runs off paved surfaces and land. Runoff can carry pollutants like fecal bacteria to nearby lakes, rivers, and saltwater beaches. Pet waste, domestic and wildlife animal waste can easily be washed downstream. Heavy rains can also cause sewage systems to overflow and discharge untreated sewage into nearby water bodies. 

Protect yourself and your family from getting sick by reducing contact with fresh or marine water after a heavy rain. Avoid water recreation for 24 hours after heavy rainfall, especially in areas where you see pipes or streams that drain directly to the beach.

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.

Stay updated about water quality at your beaches by keeping up with us on our blog Fecal Matters, on Facebook, or join our listserv.

Julianne Ruffner, is available at
360-407-6154 or for questions.

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