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DHS news release

May 18, 2005


Contacts: Bonnie Widerburg, DHS (503) 731-4180
Robert Smith, Parks & Recreation (503) 986-0665, cell (503) 551-3528

Technical contacts: Jim Kanoff, DHS (971) 673-0434
Greg Pettit, DEQ (503) 229-5349


Health advisory issued for water contact at Rockaway Beach



A public health advisory has been issued due to higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Rockaway Beach in Tillamook County.


Water tests indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, which can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Direct contact with the water should be avoided until the advisory is lifted, especially for children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria.


While this advisory is in effect at Rockaway Beach, visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean. Even if there is no advisory in effect it is recommended to avoid swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm.


Although they discourage water contact, state officials say they continue to encourage other recreational activities on this beach because they pose no health risk even during an advisory. Neighboring beaches are not affected by this advisory.

Water quality is monitored at select beaches along Oregon's coast by the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program. The program is funded by a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Oregon state agencies participating in this program include the Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. More detailed test results are available at the Beach Monitoring Program's Web site.