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DEC Reports Bacteria Levels on Coastal Areas in Ketchikan Have Decreased



August 17, 2017
Thursday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today it has confirmed enterococci bacteria levels have decreased, but are still above water quality criteria at two coastal areas in Ketchikan.

DEC recently collected water quality samples at nine coastal areas, including: South Refuge Cove Beach, Seaport Beach, Rotary Beach also known as Bugges Beach, Thomas Basin, Beacon Hill, Knudson Cove Marina, South Point Higgins Beach, Sunset Beach, and Shull Beach. Earlier sampling showed seven of these coastal areas as having bacterial levels above what is considered a safe level.

The following locations still exceed water quality criteria:

• Rotary Beach also known as Bugges Beach (located approximately 3.4 miles south of town on South Tongass Highway)

• Thomas Basin (at Creek Street Bridge)

All seven other locations meet water quality criteria. DEC plans to continue weekly sampling until results are within the criteria. Additional sampling at all nine coastal areas is planned for the week of August 21.

Contact with water impacted by enterococci bacteria may cause stomach aches, diarrhea, or ear, eye, and skin infections. Continued precautionary measures are advised. DEC recommends beach users avoid exposure, such as avoiding swimming in the water, washing after contact with the water, and rinsing fish with clean water after they have been harvested from the area. As always, people should cook seafood to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy pathogens.

The beach sampling program is being funded and implemented by DEC. It is part of a nationwide effort to decrease the incidence of water-borne illness at public beaches under the federal Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act.

On August 11, 2017, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced samples collected in the following locations indicated elevated levels of enterococci bacteria in the marine water:

• Beacon Hill (off of North Point Higgins Road)

• Knudson Cove Marina (north of Ketchikan)

• Refuge Cove Beach (south end of Refuge Cove Beach State Park)

• Rotary Beach also known as Bugges Beach (located approximately 3.4 miles south of town on South Tongass Highway)

• Seaport Beach (near Saxman)

• South Point Higgins Beach (12 miles north of Ketchikan)

* Sunset Beach (south end of Mud Bay)


Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews



Source of News:

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)



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