Clark County Public Health’s summer swim beach monitoring begins Tuesday, May 30. Throughout the summer, Public Health will monitor water quality at the county’s three designated swim beaches – Vancouver Lake, Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake – checking the waterbodies every two weeks for bacteria that could make swimmers sick.
Public Health will issue advisories if bacteria levels exceed state thresholds and may pose a risk to people swimming or wading in the water. Signs will be posted at swim beaches with advisories, and information about advisories will be posted on the Public Health website and social media. People can also subscribe to Public Health’s weekly newsletter, In the Splash, to receive advisory updates via email every Friday.
Swimmers can keep themselves and others healthy by following these simple steps:
- Rinse off before and after swimming.
- Don’t swim if you’ve had diarrhea or vomiting in the last two weeks.
- Keep children who aren’t toilet trained and require swim diapers out of unchlorinated water.
- Know where the bathrooms and changing stations are located.
- Take frequent bathroom breaks. Young children should be taken to the bathroom every hour.
Harmful algal blooms
Public Health also monitors local waterbodies, including designated swim beaches, for harmful algal blooms that can pose a health risk to people and can be fatal to pets. Harmful algal blooms have been known to occur at several waterbodies in the county.
Public Health will collect weekly water samples from waterbodies with algal blooms to test for cyanotoxins and will issue advisories if toxin levels exceed state thresholds. Signs will be posted at waterbodies with advisories and information about advisories will be posted on the Public Health website and social media.
Here are some tips for avoiding exposure to harmful algal blooms:
- Do not drink, wade, or swim in water that looks discolored or appears that algae may be present.
- Check for visual signs of a bloom. Water can look like green or blue paint has been dumped in the water, creating the appearance of scum.
- Never let your dog eat scum or algae.
- Always shower after water contact and wash pets with clean water.
- When in doubt, stay out! Cyanotoxins are released as algae cells die off. So even after a bloom has dissipated, toxins may still be present.
Learn more about harmful algal blooms on the Public Health website.
For more information about swim beach advisories and other public health topics, follow Clark County Public Health on Facebook and Twitter, and look for Public Health updates on Nextdoor.