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High bacteria forces beach closure at Dash Point Park

August 14, 2013

TACOMA, Wash. - Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department closed the beach at Dash Point Park earlier today because of high Entrococcus bacteria counts. The popular Northeast Tacoma location is part of the Metro Parks Tacoma system.

The high level of this type of bacteria indicates the presence of raw sewage in the water, which greatly increases people's risk for gastrointestinal illnesses if they swim in or ingest the water.

“We don't know the cause of the high bacteria counts, but it may have been from a sewage spill, one or more failing septic systems in close proximity, or a boater dumping untreated wastewater," said Ray Hanowell, Environmental Health Specialist.

People should not wade, swim, water ski or skim board, or engage in any activities that would expose bare skin to water or risk ingesting water. Fisherman may wear waders, and with thorough washing, fish caught at the park are still safe for eating after cooking. It's also important that fisherman thoroughly wash all equipment after exposure to the water.

The bacteria counts at Dash Point were 10 times the level than when the Health Department normally closes marine beaches.

The Health Department collected additional water samples today to further investigate the extent of the problem. The closure will continue until the Health Department's follow-up water quality testing shows the level of bacteria to be at safe levels.

The Health Department has posted several signs at the beach to warn people that it is unsafe for water activities.

For more information on beach closures, visit the Health Department's website at

Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager, (253) 798-2853,
Ray Hanowell, Environmental Health Specialist, (253) 798-2845,

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's mission is to safeguard and enhance the health of the communities of Pierce County. As part of this effort, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs, and treatment in order to protect public health. Learn more at

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