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DHS news release

Feb. 20, 2004

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180; Mike Beard, State Parks (503) 986-0660
Technical contacts: Cindy Gaines, DHS (503) 731-4012; Larry Caton, DEQ (503) 229-5491

Health advisories for water contact at Twin Rocks and Manhattan beaches are lifted

Health advisories for contact with contaminated water at Twin Rocks beach and Manhattan Beach State Wayside in Tillamook County are lifted today by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

The advisory was issued on January 20 after water sample tests at Twin Rocks and Manhattan beaches showed unhealthful levels of Enterococcus, a bacterial contaminant. Subsequent testing showed the contamination had subsided and the waters were safe for water-contact activities.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the safe standard for Enterococcus to be no more than 158 colony-forming units (CFUs) per 100 milliliters of marine water.

On February 18, Twin Rocks beach and Manhattan Beach State Wayside water tests were both at less than 10 CFU/100 milliliters of marine water.

Water quality is monitored at 52 beaches along the coast under the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program, funded by a grant from the EPA. DHS administers the program and DEQ is responsible for the water quality testing. Water samples are tested for the Enterococcus bacterium, a microorganism that has been shown to have a greater correlation in marine waters with swimming-associated illnesses than other bacterial organisms.

For information about water quality testing, contact DEQ at (503) 229-5491.

Information can also be obtained from the Beach Program at (503) 731-4012. Details about the Beach program, along with complete test data, are on the Web.