Cline Spit Beach reopened to swimmers

The waters were closed to recreational water use because of high levels of high concentrations of enterococcus bacteria.

SEQUIM — Cline Spit Beach has been reopened to swimming and wading.

The waters off the beach were closed to recreational water use Aug. 23 because of high concentrations of enterococcus bacteria, which is found in the feces of warm-blooded creatures, including humans.

Samples of the water collected Monday showed the concentration of enterococcus bacteria has returned to safe levels. The amount is below the state Department of Health swimming beach closure level for enterococcus, said Sue Waldrip, environmental health specialist with the Clallam County Health and Human Services Environmental Health Section.

The beach incorporates about 240 feet of tidelands a half-mile west of Dungeness Landing County Park.

Testing is part of a weekly sampling program.

The cause of the high concentration of bacteria was unknown, Waldrip said.

The bacteria could have been deposited in the water by birds or seals or other warm-blooded animals, a boat or a septic system, although Waldrip said the department did not know of any septic failures in the area.

Contact with fecal-contaminated waters can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses, she said. Children and the elderly might be more vulnerable to waterborne illnesses.

The closure due to bacteria was the first time this year for Cline Spit or any other beaches in Clallam County, Waldrip said.

Last summer, Cline Spit was closed Aug. 14 because of high levels of enterococcus bacteria. It was reopened Aug. 21. The origin of the bacteria was unknown.

Hollywood Beach was closed twice last summer because of bacteria, the origin of which also was unknown.

It has tested clean this summer.

For questions about the advisory, contact Clallam County Health and Human Services’ Environmental Health Section at 360-417-2334.

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