Curious how safe the water is at your favorite beach on the sound?
In a blog post Thursday, the state’s Department of Ecology reported results from regular water quality tests in 2017. Officials monitor marine beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day and issue public beach closure notices if the results show the water might pose a health risk.
In 2017, 62 public beaches were tested regularly for bacterial contamination. Of them, 91 percent had less than two swimming advisories or closures.
In Thurston County, beaches at Burfoot County Park, Priest Point Park and West Bay Park were tested weekly or biweekly. All three had “excellent water quality” in 2017, though Priest Point Park and West Bay Park have permanent swim advisories because of their proximity to a sewage treatment plant and stormwater outfalls.
Officials say small amounts of fecal bacteria in the water does not pose a threat to public health. But that can rise to unhealthy levels for many reasons, such as wild animals congregating when people feed them, dogs defecating on beaches, used diapers being left on beaches, or sewage discharged from sewers overflowing during heavy rain.
Exposure to contaminated water can cause gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses.
Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869, @AbbySpegman