Our Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication & Health (BEACH) program ensures that marine water is safe to swim and play in and informs the public if water doesn't meet swimming standards.
Out of the 63 beaches sampled in 2020, 95 percent were considered passing beaches. This is a four percent increase in passing beaches from 2019. A beach is considered passing if it has no more than one sampling event that exceeds the swimming standard.
You can look up your local beach and see how clean it was during 2020 with county-by-county links below. Also, you can compare 2020 to previous years and overall averages with our summary chart.
Keeping beaches safe
From Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2020, our scientists and county and local BEACH partners sampled 63 public beaches on marine waters for bacterial contamination. We collected water samples from high-use beaches weekly or biweekly to test for enterococcus, a type of fecal bacteria. High enterococcus levels are linked to swimmer illness. This information helps health officials issue swimming advisories.
Makah Tribe BEACH scientists sample five public beaches weekly from January through March. Their data are included in our summary below under Clallam County. Sampling at these beaches ended early because of COVID-19.
Water quality — beach by beach
Click on the county links below for more details on water quality at local swimming beaches:
Beach water quality summary 2020
In 2020, the Washington State BEACH Program sampled 63 beaches. The figure below shows that in 2020, 95 percent of beaches had fewer than two exceedances of the swimming standard. This is above the yearly average (2004 – 2019) of 86 percent passing. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Makah tribe only sampled in January – March during the 2020 season. Data from Makah BEACH Program beaches are not included in this graph.