Staying safe in and around water

Temperatures may be warming up, but lakes and rivers in Southwest Washington are still cold, and water may be moving quickly. In spring and early summer, local lakes and rivers are still cold enough to shock and immobilize even the strongest swimmers.

Public Health urges people of all ages to follow these tips for safe swimming and recreating in all bodies of water this summer:

  • Know your limits. Drowning often occurs when swimmers tire.
  • Avoid fast-flowing waters, including rivers and ocean beaches with riptides. 
  • Don’t swim alone.
  • Avoid distractions when children are swimming or around water. Children should be supervised by adults anytime they are in or around water. Supervision requires complete attention, even if another adult is present. Drowning can happen swiftly and silently. 
  • Wear a life jacket. Children, teens and adults should wear life jackets while boating, using a personal watercraft, inner tubing or while using other water sports equipment. Life jackets should also be worn while swimming in lakes, rivers or the ocean. By law, children 12 years and younger must wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket or vest on all vessels 18 feet or smaller. 
  • Avoid alcohol and marijuana use when swimming or boating.
  • Don’t dive into shallow water or jump off bridges or cliffs.
  • Swim in designated swimming areas only. Signs will be viewable letting you know when and where it’s safe to swim.
  • Teach children how to swim. Enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Early and frequent swim lessons will teach children the skills needed to stay safe while in and around water. 

Selling food at farmers markets and public events

Farmers markets and public events offer many opportunities for local food vendors to showcase and sell their products within the community. Food vendors have a variety of ways to offer new flavors, recipes and products to explore. 

Clark County Public Health works with local food vendors on proper food handling practices. Before selling, serving, preparing or sampling food at public events or farmers markets, or coordinating food vendors for an event in Clark County, check out the frequently asked questions about temporary events webpage.

Free in-person and online workshops

Clark County’s Composter Recycler program is offering a series of free in-person and online workshops this spring. Participants will jumpstart their knowledge on topics including composting, green cleaning and sustainable lifestyle habits! 

Pre-registration is required for all workshops. To register, visit the Composter Recycler webpage

The Composter Recycler program educates the community about easy ways to reduce waste, increase recycling and create healthier homes.  

PFAS in public and private drinking water

Per– and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a large group of human-made chemicals used for decades in many products, such as water-resistant clothing, non-stick cookware, and cleaning products. When PFAS are made, used, disposed of, or spilled near water sources, like rivers, aquifers or wells, the chemicals can get into drinking water.

Scientists are still studying how PFAS affect people’s health. Some PFAS can build up in people’s bodies and, over time, may cause harmful health effects. Visit the PFAS in drinking water webpage to learn more.

Public records request

To request public records involving Public Health, please access the Public Records Request Portal, create an account and complete the submittal process.