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!)