Green Guide

Ketchikan beaches remain contaminated with fecal bacteria

Posted August 29

— The southeast Alaska beaches found to be contaminated earlier this month have again tested positive for high levels of a wastewater and sewage pathogen.

The continued contamination has state officials taking a closer look at the water to determine the cause, The Ketchikan Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/2xJDxMV ) on Saturday.

The enterococci (en-tur-oh-CAHKS-ee) bacteria are common in the fecal matter of warm-blooded animals. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is working to determine if the fecal bacteria are coming from wildlife, pets or humans.

If the contamination is coming from humans, it could be due to leaking sewer lines, private and municipal waste-treatment systems or boats moored in local harbors, according to the department. Test results are expected in mid-September.

Seaport Beach, Rotary Beach, Thomas Basin and Knudson Cove are the recently tested beaches that showed continued high levels of the bacteria.

Contact with water contaminated with the bacteria can cause stomach aches, diarrhea and infections.

Officials warn against swimming in the water while it is contaminated.

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