Harbor beaches among those to be tested

Some of Grays Harbor’s most popular beaches will be among those statewide to soon be tested for bacteria to prevent people from getting sick from the water.

The federally funded, state-run BEACH (Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication and Health) Program, in charge of notifying the public when beaches are a health risk and how to avoid getting sick from playing in saltwater, will head the testing.

Some of the proposed Grays Harbor County beaches likely to be monitored are: Westhaven State Park at Half Moon Bay, Westhaven Sate Park at the South Jetty, and the Groynes in Westport.

Sources of bacteria on beaches include sewer overflows, discharges from unmaintained septic systems, wastewater treatment plants, sewage spills and feces from dogs, wildlife and birds, according to a release by the Washington State Department of Ecology.

The program is accepting public comments on the proposed list until May 20, the first day of the testing season. Comments can be sent to Christopher Clinton at Christopher.clinton@ecy.wa.gov or at 360-407-6154. To receive BEACH’s email alerts sign up at: http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A0=BEACH