11 • 03 • 2009
Cannon Beach Water Quality Protection
The Clatsop County organizing committee is aiming to reduce bacterial contamination at Ecola Court Outfall and within the Cannon Beach Urban Watershed. Blue Water Task Force and State Beach Monitoring has identified Ecola Court as one of the worst stormwater outfalls on Oregon beaches, exceeding health advisory limits 50% of the time. With the Ecola Court being a primary beach access for locals and tourists alike, the exposure to elevated bacteria on the beach puts the health of tens of thousands of visitors on a single summer day at risk. Through blue water task force monitoring, ongoing outreach and engagement and steady advocacy, the group has worked through several City Task Forces to address these issues through various management strategies. Surfrider volunteers however believe that there is much more the City could be doing to investigate and eliminate potential sources entering the storm water system and eventually contaminating the beaches.
Victory! After over a decade of water quality monitoring and advocacy efforts with the City of Cannon Beach, numerous sewer and bacterial sources were identified through a full infrastructure analysis conducted by an independent contractor for the city this winter. Utilizing smoke and dye testing techniques, a process Surfrider recommended in 2012, the City was able to uncover key sources such as cross-connections, broken sewer lines and failures with pump stations that were contributing to pollution on the beach. Having worked with the City of Newport and the City of Coos Bay on similar sewer and storm water infrastructure testing, Surfrider was adamant in our advocacy that a similar process would help determine the culprit of high bacteria in Cannon Beach. On Feb. 6th, following receiving the full report and breifling from the city's public works contractors, the City Council voted to support the needed fee adjustments to begin tackling the major capitol improvement projects identified for the City's sewer and stormwater.
It's been a long road, but thanks to Surfrider locals and partnered leadership within the Ecola Watershed Council, Cannon Beach is well on the way to cleaner, healthier beaches!
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