RECREATIONAL BEACHES BACTERIA MONITORING
SITC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) conducts weekly bacterial monitoring of six swimming beaches during summer months (June – August) and monitors monthly throughout the rest of the year.
Specifically, we are monitoring for levels of Enterococci, which are a group of bacteria that may indicate the presence of fecal pollution which can cause gastrointestinal illnesses.
- As of 2004, Enterococci took the place of fecal coliforms as the new federal standard for water quality at saltwater beaches.
- EPA recommends Enterococci as the best indicator of health risk in saltwater used for recreation.
- Public will be notified of samples above a beach action value of 60 colonies/100mL.
- According to Swinomish draft water quality standards, Enterococci levels must not exceed a mean value of 30 colonies/100ml over a 30-day period.
- Single sample values must not exceed 110 colonies/100ml.
- Results are given in "most probable number" (or MPN) of colonies present in a sample and is based on the labratory analytical method that we use.
- Bacterial analyses are conducted in-house in the Swinomish Environmental Lab.
- In-House analysis provides the quickest turn around in processing samples, and allows us to resample immediately when needed.