18-074 Corps removes public health advisory at Chestnut Recreation Area

Published July 13, 2018
CLARKSTON, Wash. – The Walla Walla District of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is removing public advisories to not swim in or drink shoreline river water near the Chestnut Recreation Area in Clarkston, Washington. Laboratory results received July 12 from water samples taken July 9, showed no indication of high levels of fecal bacteria in shoreline river water.

As a precaution, warning signs will be posted near the Chestnut Recreation Area’s shoreline.

Initial water-testing results received June 21, revealed fecal coliform counts of 447 per each 100 milliliters of sample. That figure exceeded the 200 per 100 ml. that is deemed safe for swimming areas by Washington state health officials. Corps staff posted signs advising visitors of the potential health risk. The Corps routinely samples water at designated swim beaches and sometimes at other high-visitation areas, like Chestnut Recreation Area. Corps park rangers noted the increased temperatures and waterfowl feces were the likely causes of the elevated bacteria levels.

Test results from water samples taken July 9 at four shoreline locations all indicated safe levels of bacteria -- 11, 8, 23 and 33 per each 100 milliliters of sampled water.

Public recreation areas, parks and levee systems are not natural habitat for geese. Park rangers strongly discourage visitors from feeding geese and other wildlife. Without sufficient numbers of natural predators in the area, the urban geese population continues to grow. The increased amount of animal fecal matter along the shoreline can pose a public health risk.

For additional information, call the Corps' Lower Granite Natural Resources Management Office in Clarkston, Washington, at 509-751-0240.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 18-074