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DHS news release

Nov. 4, 2004

Contacts: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180; Robert Smith, OPRD (503) 986-0665

Technical contacts: Joel Sherman, DHS (503) 872-6774; Larry Caton, DEQ (503) 229-5491


Health advisory for water contact at Cannon Beach is lifted

A health advisory for contact with marine water at Cannon Beach in Clatsop County is lifted today by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.


The advisory was issued on Oct. 20, 2004, after water sample tests at Cannon Beach showed higher than normal levels of Enterococcus, a type of fecal bacteria, in the marine water. Subsequent testing showed the bacteria levels had decreased and the waters did not pose a higher than normal risk associated with water-contact activities.


Based on the frequency and types of use of Oregon’s ocean waters and federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations, DHS considers an acceptable concentration of Enterococcus to be 158 organisms per 100 milliliters of marine water. Advisories are issued when Enterococcus levels are at or above 158 organisms per 100 milliliters of marine water.


On Nov. 1, Cannon Beach water tests ranged from less than 10, to 52 organisms per 100 milliliters of marine water.

Water quality is currently monitored at 12 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 Enterococcus bacteria, a microorganism that has been shown to have a greater correlation in marine waters with swimming-associated illnesses than other bacterial organisms.


Information can be obtained from the Beach Program at (503) 731-4012. Details about the beach program, along with complete test data, are available on the DHS public health Web site. For information about water quality testing, contact DEQ at (503) 229-5349.