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Pierce County annual BEACH report

Nine beaches in Pierce County were sampled during 2016. They were:

  • Browns Point Lighthouse Park
  • Dash Point Metro Park
  • Jack Hyde Park
  • Owen Beach, Point Defiance Park
  • Purdy Sandspit County Park
  • Saltars Point Beach
  • Sunnyside Beach Park
  • Titlow Park
  • Waterfront Dock, Ruston Way

Details on each beach are presented in the text below.

Owen Beach in Pierce County

Keeping beaches safe

The 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.

During the 2016 beach season, 61 public beaches on coastlines were sampled from Memorial Day through Labor Day. High-use beaches were sampled weekly or biweekly for enterococcus, a type of fecal bacteria. High enterococcus levels are linked to swimmer illness.

Pierce County swimming beaches

We monitored nine beaches in Pierce County from May 23 through Aug. 29, 2016. All beaches were sampled weekly.

Browns Point Lighthouse Park beach

Browns Point Lighthouse Park beach was sampled 15 times during the sampling period. Water quality at this beach was very good, meeting the swimming standards for all periods sampled.

Dash Point Metro Park beach

Dash Point Metro Park beach was sampled 15 times during the sampling period. Water quality at this beach was excellent with bacterial levels meeting the swimming standards during all periods sampled.

Jack Hyde Park beach

Jack Hyde Park beach was sampled 15 times during the sampling period. Water quality at this beach was very good, meeting the swimming standards for all periods sampled.

We conducted a shoreline survey at this beach on July 19, 2016 and noted that a stormwater outfall empties near this beach. Stormwater outfalls could be a potential source of pollution. Therefore, beachgoers should avoid the area around an outfall.

Owen Beach

Owen Beach, Point Defiance Park was sampled 15 times during the sampling period. This beach had very good water quality, meeting the swimming standards for all periods sampled.

Purdy Sandspit County Park beach

Purdy Sandspit County Park beach was sampled 16 times during the sampling period. During the 2016 swim season, this beach generally had good water quality. On June 13, sampling results were in the advisory range, but subsequent sampling showed that bacteria levels had dropped into the safe swimming range. Water quality at this beach improved from the 2015 monitoring season.

Saltars Point Beach

Saltars Point beach was sampled 15 times during the sampling period. Water quality at this beach was very good, meeting swimming standards for all periods sampled. We conducted a shoreline survey at this beach on July 16, 2016.

Sunnyside Beach Park

Sunnyside Beach Park was sampled 16 times during the sampling period. On May 23 and May 25, this beach had bacteria levels in the advisory range. Subsequent sampling the following week showed that bacteria levels had dropped back down into the safe swimming range. Sunnyside Beach Park met the swimming standards for all other periods sampled.

Titlow Park beach

Titlow Park beach was sampled 16 times during the sampling period. Bacteria levels were elevated on May 23 and May 25, resulting in a swimming closure from May 26 to June 1, 2016. This beach met the swimming standards during all other periods sampled. A swim advisory was issued for this beach from July 1-2, 2016, due to a small-volume sewage spill.

Ruston Way Waterfront Park beach

Ruston Way Waterfront Park beach was sampled 15 times during the sampling period. Water quality at this beach was excellent with bacteria levels meeting swimming standards during all periods sampled.

We conducted a shoreline survey at this beach on July 19, 2016. A recommendation was made to add pet-waste stations along the walking path above the beach.

Data summary: Bacteria results compared to standards

The chart below summarizes the bacteria levels in these four beaches in relation to the EPA swimming standard:

  Geometric Mean 90th Percentile
EPA Swimming Standard ≤ 35 ≤ 276
Browns Point Lighthouse Park 12 26
Dash Point Metro Park 10 15
Jack Hyde Park 12 27

Owen Beach, Point Defiance Park

11 22
Purdy Sandspit County Park 12 37
Saltars Point Beach 10 19
Sunnyside Beach Park 12 38
Titlow Park 16 55
Waterfront Dock, Ruston Way 13 21