Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication, Health (BEACH) volunteers monitor high-risk Washington state beaches for bacteria. Beaches are considered high-risk when they have a lot of recreational users and are located near potential bacteria sources.
Monitoring can indicate pollution from sewage treatment plant problems, boating waste, malfunctioning septic systems, animal waste, or other sources of fecal pollution. BEACH volunteers monitor for an indicator bacteria called "enterococci." The presence of this bacteria at elevated levels means there is a potential for disease-causing bacteria and viruses to also be present.
BEACH is intended to reduce the risk of disease for people who play in saltwater. The program strives to educate the public about the risks associated with polluted water and what each of us can do to reduce that risk.