Oregon Beach Monitoring Program sets public meetings to discuss new ‘beach action value’ for health advisories

The Oregon Beach Monitoring Program (OBMP) has scheduled a series of public meetings this month to discuss its adoption of a new, lower “beach action value” (BAV) that will be used as the basis for public health advisories at Oregon beaches.

The new BAV for bacteria will be 70 MPN starting in 2017. The 2015 and 2016 monitoring seasons will remain unchanged and continue to use the current BAV of 158 MPN. The adoption of the new BAV is recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Studies suggest that exposure to bacteria levels below 158 MPN may still cause gastrointestinal illnesses from accidental ingestion of water during recreational activities.

At the meetings, the Beach Monitoring Program also will solicit public comments about beaches to be included in the 2017-2018 monitoring seasons (Memorial Day through Labor Day). Public comments can be submitted to the program at beach.health@state.or.us through April 2016.

Meeting schedule

• South Coast: October 20, 6-9 p.m., Marshfield High School, Heritage Hall, South 10th and Ingersoll Street, Coos Bay.

• Mid Coast: October 21, 6-9 p.m., Newport Recreation Center, Room 124-B, 225 SE Avery Street, Newport.

• North Coast: October 22, 6-9 p.m., Chamber of Commerce, Community Hall Main Room, 207 N Spruce, Cannon Beach.

• Portland metro: October 29, 4-6 p.m., Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, EQC-A (10th floor), 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland.

The Oregon Beach Monitoring Program monitors the waters along Oregon’s coastline for the presence of fecal bacteria and reports elevated levels to the public. For more information, visit the program’s website at www.healthoregon.org/beaches.

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