DHS news release
Nov. 5, 2004
Contact: 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 advisories for water contact at Oswald West State Park and Agate Beach are lifted
Health advisories for contact with marine water at Oswald West State Park beach in Tillamook County and Agate Beach in Lincoln County are 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 advisories were issued on Oct. 22, 2004, after water sample tests at Oswald West State Park beach and Agate Beach showed higher than normal levels of Enterococcus, a type of fecal bacteria, in the marine water. Subsequent testing showed the contamination had subsided 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. 3, 2004, Oswald West State Park beach water tests ranged from 30 to less than 10 organisms/100 milliliters of marine water. On Nov. 4, 2004, Agate beach water tests were all at less than 10 organisms/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 on the DHS Beach Monitoring Web page . For information about water quality testing, contact DEQ at (503) 229-5349.