Tests Report No Elevated Bacteria Levels at Coastal Areas in Ketchikan
September 20, 2017
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:
Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
Source of News:
Representations of fact and opinions in comments posted are solely those of the individual posters and do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.