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.
Snohomish County saltwater swimming beaches
Washington State University Snohomish County Extension Beach Watchers sampled six beaches in Snohomish County each week from May 22 through Sept. 1, 2017, and Howarth Park every other week. Jetty Island beach was sampled every other week in July and August. Stillaguamish Tribal staff sampled one beach, Kayak Point, weekly during the same period.
Edmonds Marina Beach Park
During the 2017 swim season, Edmonds Marina Park beach had excellent water quality. This beach met the swimming standards for all periods sampled.
On Sept. 7, 2017, a shoreline survey was conducted by BEACH Program staff at Edmonds Marina Beach Park and the Edmonds Marina Beach Dog Park.
Edmonds Underwater Park beach
During the 2017 swim season, Edmonds Underwater Park Beach as sampled 15 times. The beach had excellent water quality, meeting the swimming standards for all periods sampled.
On Sept. 7, 2017 a shoreline survey was conducted at this beach by BEACH Program staff.
Howarth Park beach
During the 2017 swim season, Howarth Park was sampled every other week. This beach had very good water quality, meeting the swimming standards for all periods sampled.
Jetty Island beach
Due to lack of public access, Jetty Island beach was sampled every other week in July and August, four times in all. During the four sample events, water quality was very good and met the swimming standards.
Kayak Point County Park beach
During the 2017 swim season, Kayak Point County beach had very good water quality. This beach met the swimming standards for all periods sampled.
Mukilteo Lighthouse Park beach
Mukilteo Lighthouse Park beach had excellent water quality. This beach met the swimming standards for all periods sampled.
In addition to beach sampling, volunteers sampled water from a stormwater pipe that discharges to the beach. Samples were obtained eight times when the pipe was flowing. During four of the eight sample events, bacteria levels were greater than 104 enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters of water, exceeding the swimming criteria. It is difficult to determine if this discharge impacts water quality along the beach area. No flow information is available, so bacteria loading cannot be calculated.
Picnic Point County Park beach
During the 2017 swim season, Picnic Point County beach had excellent water quality, meeting the swimming standards for all periods sampled.
Data summary: Bacteria results compared to standards
The chart below summarizes the bacteria levels at Snohomish 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 Snohomish County beaches
(in enterococcus per 100 mL) for 2017
||Statistical Threshold Value
|Edmonds Marina Beach Park
|Edmonds Underwater Park
|Kayak Point County Park
|Mukilteo Lighthouse Park
|Picnic Point County Park