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The original item was published from 7/1/2022 1:31:57 PM to 7/9/2022 12:00:04 AM.

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Public Health News

Posted on: July 1, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Chimacum Tidelands Closure, Irondale Beach Warning

20220701_Irondale Press Release

For Immediate Release 
Contact: Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager
Jefferson County Public Health
360-385-9444 ext. 301

Chimacum Tidelands Closure, Irondale Beach Warning 

Port Townsend, WA. High levels of E. coli bacteria have been detected in a stream that enters Irondale Beach Park in Port Hadlock. As a result, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has closed a portion of the Chimacum Creek Tidelands south of Chimacum Creek to recreational shellfish harvest. The beach is open north of Chimacum Creek. In addition, swimming and wading are not recommended in the creek or on the beach. Warning signs have been posted at the beach, the stream, and the parking lot.

“Average bacteria counts were greater than 900 units per 100 milliliters, nine times greater than the state water quality standard.” said Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager for Jefferson County. E. coli bacteria are from fecal contamination from warm-blooded animals, including people. They indicate the possible presence of pathogens that can make people sick from contact with the water or eating contaminated shellfish. The bacteria were discovered by regular monitoring conducted by Jefferson County Public Health. 

Investigation of potential sources of the bacteria is underway, which includes checking for failing septic systems. All residents are urged to have an Operations and Monitoring inspection of their onsite septic system to insure it is functioning correctly. A similar closure occurred in the area in 2013. After some septic repairs were completed, the creek bacteria improved. 

For more information about septic monitoring, see www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/659/Operation-Monitoring-OM or call 360-385-9444. To find out which areas are safe to harvest shellfish in Washington, check the map at www.doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632. For the latest information on shellfishing regulations and seasons, visit the Fish and Wildlife website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing or call the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline at 1-866-880-5431. BEACH program monitoring results are posted at ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Water-quality/Saltwater/BEACH-program.

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Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community

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