The South Sound Chapter regularly samples six public beaches in the Tacoma area for bacterial pollution. To view our latest data, visit Local Water Quality Results. A continuous record of data collected over past years can be seen by clicking on the map tab at a specific beach, and then clicking on “view beach data”.
Surfrider volunteers collect the water samples and deliver them to the Tacoma Public School’s Science and Math Institute (SAMi) where high school students perform the analysis under the supervision of their teacher.
We coordinate with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Swimming Beaches program and the Washington State Department of Ecology’s BEACH Program to ensure that our sampling protocols align with those of agency programs. High bacterial levels are reported to the County and State immediately. As with any beach water-testing program, the South Sound Chapter’s data only reflects results taken at one location on the day sampled, and do not guarantee that the beach is bacteria-free.
The County does its own weekly sampling of nine local beaches during summer months, and information on results and beach closures can be found at Pierce County Water Quality Results
In collaboration with the County, we are revising our sampling procedures (taking a single sample rather than a five-sample composite) starting in October of 2014. We will also stop monitoring during the summer months, which duplicates the work the County is already doing, in favor of expanding the number of samples and beaches from fall to spring, when the County program is suspended, but divers and paddlers are still active in the Sound.
WANT TO HELP PROTECT OUR BEACHES?
If you would like to help during the summer months, the Pierce County Department of Health would like to train volunteers to cover more public beaches. Please contact Lindsay Tuttle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To volunteer for Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force during the fall, winter and spring, or to ask any questions, please contact Bruce Hoeft at email@example.com. We will provide training and materials if you would like to help us expand the number of beaches we monitor.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Learn more about beach monitoring programs and water quality issues in Washington in the water quality section of Surfrider’s State of the Beach, Washington State Report or check out the WA State summary in NRDC’s Testing the Waters Report. To find out about Surfrider’s international Blue Water Task Force program, check out Surfrider National Info.