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Pierce County annual BEACH report

Nine beaches in Pierce County were sampled during 2017. They were:

  • Dash Point Metro Park
  • Jack Hyde Park
  • Owen Beach, Point Defiance Park
  • Penrose Point State Park
  • Purdy Sandspit County Park
  • Sunnyside Beach Park
  • Tacoma DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve
  • Titlow Park
  • Waterfront Dock, Ruston Way

Details on each beach are presented in the text below.

Family walks along rocky beach with trees and Mt. Ranier in background

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 2017 beach season, 62 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 22 through Sept. 1, 2017. All beaches were sampled weekly.

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 excellent, meeting the swimming standards for all periods sampled.

Owen Beach

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

Penrose Point State Park

Penrose Point State Park had excellent water quality and met the swimming standards for all periods sampled.

Purdy Sandspit County Park beach

Purdy Sandspit County Park beach was sampled 15 times during the sampling period. During the 2017 swim season, this beach had excellent water quality and met the swimming standard for all periods sampled.

Sunnyside Beach Park

Sunnyside Beach Park had excellent water quality and met the swimming standards for all periods sampled.

A shoreline survey was conducted by BEACH Program staff on June 20, 2017. A recommendation was made to add an additional pet-waste station located closer to the beach.

Tacoma DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve

During the 2017 monitoring season, Tacoma DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve had good water quality. On Aug. 21, sampling results were in the closure range. However, subsequent sampling showed that bacteria levels had dropped into the safe swimming range. This beach met the swimming standards for all other periods sampled.

Titlow Park beach

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

Ruston Way Waterfront Park beach

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

Data summary: Bacteria results compared to standards

The chart below summarizes the bacteria levels at Pierce County beaches in relation to the EPA swimming standard or saltwater swimming criteria. Beaches are considered unsafe for swimming when the geometric mean of enterococcus/100 mL of water is greater than or equal to 35 and the statistical threshold value of enterococcus/100 mL is greater than or equal to 276. We issue a public swimming advisory when enterococcus levels reach 104 per 100 mL of water.

Table: Calculated geometric mean and statistical threshold value at Pierce County beaches
(in enterococcus per 100 mL) for 2017
Beach Geometric Mean Statistical Threshold Value
Dash Point Metro Park 12 19
Jack Hyde Park 12 20
Owen Beach, Point Defiance Park <10 <10
Penrose Point State Park <10 <10
Purdy Sandspit County Park 11 17
Sunnyside Beach Park <10 10
Tacoma DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve 12 40
Titlow Park 13 24
Waterfront Dock, Ruston Way 14 27