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A close view of water samples in a chemistry lab in beakers ready to be tested at the Science and Math Institute Schoo in Tacoma

Blue Water Task Force

Our Science-Based Approach

The Blue Water Task Force is Surfrider’s volunteer water quality monitoring program that provides critical water quality information to protect public health at the beach. Surfrider chapters use this program to raise awareness of local pollution problems and to bring together communities to implement solutions.

Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) labs measure fecal indicator bacteria levels in recreational waters and compare them to water quality standards set to protect public health. Chapter-run BWTF programs fill in the gaps and extend the coverage of agency-run beach monitoring programs by sampling ocean and bay beaches, estuaries and potential freshwater sources of pollution such as stormwater outlets, rivers and creeks that discharge onto the beach.

A female volunteer collecting water samples while a kayaker enjoys recreating on the water

South Sound Chapter Data 

The South Sound Blue Water Task Force collects water samples from local beaches September to May to identify harmful bacteria. We inform recreational enthusiasts of any health concerns by providing monthly enterococcus level summaries. Our collaboration with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has resulted in past public advisories.

View the water quality report:

View Your Local Water Quality

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Water quality testing provided by Surfrider's {{}} Chapter

Our Local Program

The South Sound Chapter diligently carries out regular sampling of eleven public beaches in the Tacoma area to evaluate the extent of bacterial pollution.

South Sound Surfrider and Harbor WildWatch volunteers collect the water samples and deliver them to the Tacoma Public School’s Science and Math Institute (SAMi). Talented high school students, guided by the expertise of Blue Water Task Force Coordinator Stena Troyer and Biological Science teacher Matthew Lonsdale, diligently conduct the analysis of the water samples.

We also coordinate with the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Marine BEACH Program to align our sampling protocols, ensuring the accuracy of our data. If high levels of bacteria are detected, we immediately report them to the Pierce County Health Department. It is important to note that our data reflects results from a specific location on the day of sampling and cannot guarantee a bacteria-free beach.

The Marine BEACH Program collaborates closely with the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department and conducts its own weekly sampling of nearby beaches throughout the summer season. Discover the latest updates on water quality results and any beach closures by visiting Ecology’s BEACH website .


Everyone deserves access to clean water to surf, swim and play in.

Meet the Blue Water Task Force

Water Quality Information & Resources