Swimming advisory lifted in Birch Bay


Whatcom County Health and Community Services (WCHCS) Department has rescinded its no swimming advisory for Birch Bay beach and tidelands north of Birch Bay State Park, as of June 13.

The beach area was placed under the advisory on June 6 after high levels of fecal matter were found in the water during routine water sampling.

A no swimming advisory has also been lifted at Wildcat Cove beach in Larrabee State Park. Advisories remain in effect at Taylor Dock at Boulevard Park and Little Squalicum Beach in Bellingham.

Joshua Leinbach, WCHCS environmental health supervisor, previously said there are several possible contributing factors to higher levels of fecal matter in the water. Heavy periods of rain, such as the recent rainfall in Whatcom County, increase stormwater runoff that often increases water pollution. Sources of fecal contamination could come from wildlife, pets, septic systems or sewage, Leinbach said.

Fecal contamination can cause stomach flu, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE). DOE recommends people who’ve been in contact with contaminated water shower after swimming and wash their hands after being in the sand.

DOE, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health, local agencies and tribes, monitors marine water quality from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

For more information on beach closures across Washington, visit the Department of Ecology website at bit.ly/3Xk0iWY.


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