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DHS news release

Oct. 10, 2007

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg, 503-731-4180
Technical contacts: Jennifer Ketterman, 971-673-0431; Larry Caton, 503-229-5491

Beach monitoring program seeks public input

The Oregon Department of Human Services seeks public comment regarding its list of proposed beach monitoring sites for the 2007 winter season.

The DHS beach monitoring program tests the water quality at selected Oregon beaches and notifies the public when elevated levels of bacteria are detected.

Beaches are placed on the list based on the presence of pollution hazards, previous monitoring data showing compliance risks, use of the beach by the public, and recommendation by members of the public.

"Public input is an important part of deciding which beaches should be listed," said Jennifer Ketterman, beach monitoring program coordinator for DHS. "We want to know if Oregonians agree these sites are where we should do water quality testing -- and why or why not. We welcome other comments as well."

Comments will be taken starting today through 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24. Comments may be e-mailed to Ketterman at jennifer.a.ketterman@state.or.us, faxed to her at 971-673-0431 or mailed to Jennifer Ketterman, 800 NE Oregon St., Suite 640, Portland, OR 97232.

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. State agencies participating in this program in addition to DHS are the Department of Environmental Quality and the Parks and Recreation Department. The proposed list of winter 2007 beach monitoring sites for consideration is on the Web at the Beach Monitoring Program Web site.