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DHS news release

December 16, 2004

Contact: Jim Sellers (503) 945-5738; Kevin Price, OPRD (503) 986-0660


Technical contacts: Cindy Gaines, DHS (503) 731-4012; Greg Pettit, DEQ (503) 229-5349


Health advisory for water contact at Sunset Bay State Park beach is lifted

A health advisory for contact with marine water at Sunset Bay State Park in Coos County was 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 Dec. 2 after tested water samples at Sunset Bay 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 were safe for 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 that level.


On Dec. 13, Sunset Bay beach water tests were all below 158 organisms per 100 milliliters of marine water.

Water quality is monitored at 19 beaches along the coast under the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program, funded by an EPA grant. 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 site. For information about water quality testing, contact DEQ at (503) 229-5349.