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DHS news release

August 18, 2006


General questions

Tom Towslee, DHS, 503-559-0652
Robert Smith, OPRD, 503-986-0665, cell 503-551-3528

Technical questions

Jennifer Ketterman, DHS, 971-673-0431

Larry Caton, DEQ, 503-229-5491

Health advisory lifted at Rockaway beach

The Oregon Department of Human Services today lifted a health advisory for contact with marine water at Rockaway beach in Tillamook County. The action was taken in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

The advisory was issued on Wednesday after water samples at Rockaway 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.

State officials encourage recreational activities at all Oregon beaches, suggesting only that water contact be avoided when advisories are in effect.

Since 2003, state officials have used a federal Environmental Protection Agency grant to monitor popular Oregon beaches and make timely reports to the public about elevated levels of fecal bacteria. Oregon state agencies participating in this program are 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 DHS Beach Monitoring Program Web site.