The Washington State Department of Health closed a portion of the Chimacum Creek Tidelands south of Chimacum Creek to recreational shellfish harvest after high levels of E. coli bacteria have been …
The Washington State Department of Health closed a portion of the Chimacum Creek Tidelands south of Chimacum Creek to recreational shellfish harvest after high levels of E. coli bacteria have been detected in a stream that enters Irondale Beach Park in Port Hadlock.
Health officials announced the closure Friday, July 1.
The beach is open north of Chimacum Creek.
Officials also noted that 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, officials said.
Investigation of potential sources of the bacteria is underway, which includes checking for failing septic systems.
The county is urging all residents to have an operations and monitoring inspection of their onsite septic system to make sure 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, go to jeffersoncountypublichealth.org 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.
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