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DHS news release

 

February 5, 2008

 

General questions: Bonnie Widerburg, DHS: 971-673-1282

Technical questions: Jennifer Ketterman, DHS: 971-673-0431

Larry Caton, DEQ: 503-693-5726

 

Precautionary health advisory issued for Umpqua Beach

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A precautionary public health advisory was issued today for Umpqua Beach due to a sewage spill into Schofield Creek and Umpqua River. This sewage spill could potentially impact the ocean waters at Umpqua Beach.

 

Wastewater discharges can increase the risk of higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria in ocean waters, which can result in diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes and other illnesses affecting the eyes, ears, nose and throat.

 

While this advisory is in effect, visitors should avoid direct contact with the water, particularly children and the elderly who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria.

 

State health officials are monitoring the situation and will lift the advisory when water quality samples indicate the water is safe for recreational use.

 

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.