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Fecal Matter Pollutes Many Oregon Beaches

Kerin Sharma

Some of Oregon’s coastal waters are polluted with fecal matter, which can make people sick, according to a report from an advocacy group.

Credit Kerin Sharma / OPB

Environment Oregon Research and Policy Center found 18 of the sample sites it tested indicated potentially unsafe levels of fecal matter for at least one day.

The highest percentage was found in Coos County, where the average beach was potentially unsafe on 25% of the days sampling took place. 

Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director, says this water can be unsafe for swimmers.

“We’re concerned because fecal bacteria can make people ill, particularly with gastrointestinal ailments. A lot of common sources of this pollution can include storm water run-off and sewage overflows,” says Meiffren-Swango. “The good news though is that we can actually solve these problems by investing more money in water infrastructure to prevent pollution.” 

Though the fecal matter exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold, the state has different standards and the beaches remain open.

Copyright 2019 KLCC

Amy Brenneman
Amy Brenneman is the 2019 Snowden Intern. She began working in the KLCC News Room June 24, 2019. She recently graduated from University of Oregon with a major in journalism and a minor in anthropology. She loves radio so much, she even made her undergraduate thesis an audio story about paranormal tourism in the United States.