King County monitoring water quality to ensure summertime beach trips go swimmingly

With a number of temporary swimming beach closures affecting King County lakes this summer – already nine in the first eight weeks of testing – King County’s Swim Beach Monitoring Program is fielding a lot of questions about what’s causing these closures.

Kirkland’s Juanita Beach Park features a wide sandy beach and calm, warm waters, making it a popular Lake Washington swimming spot. And while the beach is safe and open to swimmers during the Fourth of July holiday, it had been closed earlier in June because of impaired water quality – one of several such closures across King County since May.

The City of Kirkland has produced a short video featuring King County Water and Land Resources Division lake expert Daniel Nidzgorski, who explains that a common reason for impaired water quality can be summed up in one word: Poop.

While the video focuses on Juanita Beach Park in Kirkland, the issues are very similar across King County lakes. Bacteria from feces – whether it’s from pets, from wildlife, from beachgoers themselves, or from an uncommon sewage spill or septic leak – is the primary culprit behind the swimming beach closures.

Daniel explains how King County’s Swim Beach Monitoring program works with beach managers, and Public Health – Seattle & King County to ensure public safety. And he offers tips on how people can stay healthy at the beach while helping to reduce the likelihood of contributing to water quality problems.

Thanks again to the City of Kirkland for their work in helping spread the word about swim beach water quality!

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