18-087 Corps removes public health advisory at Chestnut Recreation Area

Published Aug. 10, 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 Aug. 9 from water samples taken Aug. 6, showed no indication of high levels of fecal bacteria in shoreline river water.

Corps closed the swimming beach July 20 after lab results revealed high fecal coliform counts. Washington state health officials consider counts about 200 parts per 100 milliliters unsafe for swimming areas. Staff posted signs advising visitors of the potential health risk. Weekly samples taken during the following 3 weeks remained too high to reopen the swimming area.

Test results from water samples taken Aug. 6 at four shoreline locations all indicated safe levels of bacteria -- 4.0, 4.5, 4.5 and 8 per each 100 milliliters of sampled water. 

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 during the past several weeks.

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.


Release no. 18-087