- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - Alaska officials have found high levels of a wastewater and sewage pathogen in the water at Ketchikan beaches.

Officials with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation advised beachgoers last Friday that several beaches between Clover Pass and Saxman have levels of enterococci bacteria “well above” the state’s limit, the Ketchikan Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/2w6tVip ).

“Until sample results meet water quality standards and DEC lifts this advisory, people should take precautionary measures when recreating,” the advisory stated.

The bacteria could be a health risk and people should avoid swimming in the water, officials said.

The bacteria are associated with “fecal matter from mammals,” said Nancy Sonafrank, environmental program manager with the Division of Water.

Contact with water with elevated levels of the bacteria can cause stomach aches, diarrhea, or ear, eye and skin infections, according to the state department.

The agency has been testing water in Ketchikan twice a week since at least late July and will continue monitoring and sampling until the water meets the state’s standards, Sonafrank said.

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Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, https://www.ketchikandailynews.com


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