Information for BEACH samplers

Beaches are monitored from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This page shares procedures and information on the Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication, and Health (BEACH) Program for water-quality samplers.
BEACH scientist in waders scoops a water sample just offshore of Twanoh Beach in Mason County. Beachgoers carry float toys behind her on the beach.

We monitor beaches weekly from Memorial Day to Labor Day, collecting three samples across the beach at knee-depth using sterile techniques. We take an average of the three samples because, due to the nature of bacteria, results are highly variable, and we want to ensure that we are accurately representing the actual risk at the beach. The samples are then delivered to a state-accredited laboratory for analysis. Depending on the method used, the results are available within 24 – 36 hours. More details are in the documents below.

Flowchart: recommended decision process for BEACH notification

This flowchart guides public-heath decision makers when bacterial testing or a sewage-release indicates that swimmers may be in danger of illness. It provides a graphic representation of the process described on the Swimming standard and marine water quality page.