High levels of fecal coliform in Golden Gardens creek

Updated with information from Seattle Parks & Rec: Temporary signs have been placed at the Golden Gardens creek to alert people of contaminants in the water, Joelle Hammerstad with Seattle Parks and Recreation tells us. The signs don’t say to stay out of the creek but inform people of hazards that may be in them and reasons not to play there. According to surfrider.org the stream has high levels of fecal coliform and moderate levels of e. coli. The Parks Department has been working on permanent signs for the last few weeks but put the project on the fast track after the Surfrider reports.

Hammerstad tells us that Seattle Public Utilities will be out on Wednesday doing its own testing of the creek and should have results by the end of the week. King County monitors the condition of the public beaches on a weekly basis during the summer months and has the authority to close down the beach or creek to recreational use. “We look to king county for leadership on this issue,” Hammerstad says.


File photo from May 2009

The organization has been gathering samples at local beaches and streams since March. The most recent test at the Golden Gardens stream on June 9th showed the fecal coliform level at 1011.2 units (The units for measurement are MPNs (Most Probable Number) per 100ml.) On May 26th the test showed 2,419.6 units. During the first reading on March 1 the level was 475.1 units. All are considered in the high range. To see all the data from the testing at Golden Gardens click here. The water at Golden Gardens beach has tested in the low range for Enterococcus.

“If there is contact with the stream, wash with soap and warm water,” said Charles Wu, a health and environmental investigator for King County Public Health told our news partners The Seattle Times. “And make sure kids aren’t drinking the water.” Wu tells the Times that the bacteria in the water could be “from faulty sewage systems or stormwater runoff — or directly from people, pets and wildlife.” To read more from The Seattle Times, click here.

Hammerstad tells us that there have been no reports to the city or county of people getting sick after playing in the creek. (Thank you all for the emails!)

21 comments on “High levels of fecal coliform in Golden Gardens creek”

  1. “from faulty sewage systems or stormwater runoff — or directly from people, pets and wildlife.”

    that really narrows it down.

  2. No, There saying cyclists who are boycotting Ballard Chamber Members are suppose to drink the water.

  3. What I find amazing is the Park Department was going to put up a sign asking people to stay out of the stream because of wildlife (I guess the parks are more for wildlife than humans). Which isn’t to say the parks shouldn’t provide wildlife habitat, but this Park staff mentality that everything should be “left untouched” is nothing short of ecologically wrongheaded.

    That stream has dozens of Canada geese in it, every once in awhile a Great blue heron, and maybe some Mallards. Yep, we need to leave them alone all right.

    Did they test Piper Creek or Shoreline’s Boeing Creek?

  4. That stream is a real kid magnet. Understanding the history of sewage in urban areas – I tried to disuade my children from playing in such a thing. But they have so much fun working with other unnamed reckless children. Best I could do was encourage better choices – no don’t touch your face – go take a shower – put that down – right -now. Sure we could have avoided the park – but kids gotta build damns and break them.
    Growing up in the silent spring of the midwest way back in the 60’s I know know where I played – I remember the year my town built a sewage lagoon and how we played in the “clay”.I hope that they will survive this. I did – but the jury is not out yet on how well I have survived.

  5. thank the overly fertilized yards and people not picking up their dog crap for the runoff from up on the hill.

  6. Oh duh, I don’t suppose that the doggie park 100 yards up the hill has anything to do with it?

  7. That’s what I immediately thought about, the off-leash area. Don’t use bug killer or fertilize your lawn, but have 3-4 dogs doing their thing, no problemo. Much of the sewage infrastructure is also antiquated, leading to leaks. Does anybody really think about drinking that stuff in any of the creeks leading to Carkeek or GG? YUK. Did they test for Rainier or Bud? Marlboro? Pot? I’ve been wondering now for years just what WAS in the water around here!

  8. ah, just beat me to it!

    but then again the dog park’s waste goes in the dumpster — it is a pretty well-policed area in that regard. But many people who both do and don’t use the dogpark walk their dogs all over that hillside. I’m sure there is plenty of “fecal matter” out there.

    If it falls in the forest does anyone get E. coli?

  9. thanks to the all news guys blocking the signs today as my KIDS played in the creek as they were there filming for the 11pm news!! Nice we could be part of their sound bite and unaware!

  10. This isn’t a GG problem it’s all over the city. When I was a kid playing at the beach we knew then not to play in the “sewer water creek” looks like nothings changed since the 60’s.

  11. If you have ever driven up the backside of the road above the creek there are numerous areas of water on the road,…remember that this road was closed for some time since it came down the hill in a mudslide -sewerslide. I am sure that DOGS are not the problem but our ageing Sewer and drainage system are very much to blame. Please don’t bame the Dogs but if anything the Owners!!
    People are to blame for most of our problems. I do have many issues with the Parks Dept. not putting up bigger well placed signs for one. They have been working on it for some weeks WTF!!!! WE the People need to rebuild our LOCAL government now,….this is out of control.

  12. and I blame the people I haven’t taken the time or effort to get to know better! It had to have been them, right?

  13. What doesn’t kill ’em makes ’em stronger. Sometimes. And sometimes it gives them brain damage. Then they can’t work at a good paying job. THen the kind folks in America yell and scream that they need supplemental income. Then they become vilified and end up in campers by Fred Meyer. Sometimes.

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