SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Tests Report No Elevated Bacteria Levels at Coastal Areas in Ketchikan


September 20, 2017
Wednesday AM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has confirmed enterococci bacteria levels have tested below water quality criteria for all nine coastal areas in Ketchikan.

Northway Family Healthcare - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaska Airlines - Pack More For Less

From July 18 to September 13, the Department of Environmental Conservation collected water quality samples at nine coastal areas inKetchikanincluding:South Refuge Cove Beach, Seaport Beach, Rotary Park Beacha (Bugges Beach), Thomas Basin, Beacon Hill, Knudson Cove, South Point Higgins Beach, Sunset Beach, and Shull Beach. The latest tests on September 13 show all locations meeting the water quality standards for enterococci.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation announced Tuesday it is withdrawing the recreational beach advisory issued in August. DEC will suspend bacteria monitoring in the Ketchikan coastal areas until the 2018 summer recreation season.

Enterococci bacteria can come from any warm blooded animal, including birds, seals, and dogs, as well as humans. Potential sources of this bacteria in Ketchikan may include wildlife and pet feces, human waste from private and municipal treatment systems, sewer line leakage, and/or boats in harbor areas.

Additional DNA marker testing was conducted and is currently being evaluated to help determine whether the bacteria source(s) are human, animals, or birds. The DNA testing for all nine locations indicated bacteria were present from human sources, although animal and bird sources were also identified at some locations. A project report is anticipated in November.

The beach sampling program is being 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, funded by an EPA BEACH grant.

Since 2002, the Alaska’s BEACH Program has been monitoring recreational beaches throughout the state, including other communities in southeast Alaska: Douglas Island, Haines, Juneau, Petersburg, and Wrangell. Sample results have not shown persistent elevated levels of bacteria in these communities.


On the Web:

Alaska beach monitoring program
A laska BEACH Grant


Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)



Representations of fact and opinions in comments posted are solely those of the individual posters and do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.


Submit A Letter to SitNews

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2017
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.