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Fresh Water Quality Sampling: Spring Lake Swimming Lagoon and Russian River Beaches

Sign posted at Sprink LakeOn this page:

Overview

The Sonoma County Department of Health Services monitors bacterial levels in the water at beaches along the Russian River and also monitors Spring Lake Swimming Lagoon in cooperation with the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department. Sampling is conducted once a week each summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

In 2014, through a collaborative effort with Sonoma County Regional Parks Department, permanent signs were installed at all monitored beaches that indicate the current status of a given beach using a stoplight color format:

GREEN indicates the beach is open - bacterial level results are within State guidelines (pdf).

YELLOW indicates the beach is open, but swimming is not advised - bacterial level results exceed State guidelines (pdf), but are not associated with a known or suspected human sewage release.

RED indicates the beach is closed - bacterial level results exceed State guidelines (pdf) and are associated with a known or suspected human sewage release.

Test results are posted below on this webpage. For current postings, call the Beach Hotline at (707) 565-6552.

Spring Lake Swimming Lagoon Bacteriological Test Results

NOTE: Sample Points 1 through 7 are within Spring Lake Swimming Lagoon. Sample Point 8 is within Spring Lake proper (for comparison purposes).

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Spring Lake Swimming Lagoon - Sampling Results 2015
  Sample PT. 1 Sample PT. 2 Sample PT. 3 Sample PT. 4 Sample PT. 5 Sample PT. 6 Sample PT. 7 Sample PT. 8
Date Sampled TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC
June 5, 2015 11 <1.0 9.8 1 2 2 15.8 1 21.1 9.8 17.5 6.3 17.5 2 648.8 5.2
June 9, 2015 <1.0 <1.0 104.3 20.9 97.8 7.5 85.7 14.8 2 2 2 1 124.6 17.5 1986.3 10.8
June 17, 2015 1 1 <1 <1 <1 <1 1 1 1 <1 1 1 <1 <1 816.4 <1
June 23, 2015 <1.0 <1.0 2 2 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 >2419.6 <1

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Color Key

Colored results in above table signify the following:

GREEN indicates the beach is open - bacterial level results are within State guidelines (pdf).

YELLOW indicates the beach is open, but swimming is not advised - bacterial level results exceed State guidelines (pdf), but are not associated with a known or suspected human sewage release.

RED indicates the beach is closed - bacterial level results exceed State guidelines (pdf) and are associated with a known or suspected human sewage release.

Acronyms

TC = Total Coliform - Most Probable Number (MPN)

EC = Escherichia coli - MPN

Test Results from Previous Years

Spring Lake Bacteriological Test Results - 2014 (pdf)

Spring Lake Bacteriological Test Results - 2013 (pdf)

Spring Lake Bacteriological Test Results - 2012 (pdf)

Spring Lake Bacteriological Test Results - 2011 (pdf)

Russian River Bacteriological Test Results

The following nine beaches are sampled along the Russian River:

  • Cloverdale River Park
  • Del Rio Woods Beach
  • Camp Rose Beach
  • Healdsburg Veterans Beach
  • Steelhead Beach
  • Forestville Access Beach
  • Sunset Beach
  • Johnson's Beach
  • Monte Rio Beach
  • Patterson Point

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Russian River Beach Sampling Sites for 2015 Season
  Cloverdale River Park Del Rio Woods Beach Camp Rose Beach Healdsburg Veterans Steelhead Beach Forestville Access Beach Sunset Beach Johnson's Beach Monte Rio Beach Patterson Point
Date Sampled TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC TC EC
May 26, 2015 7,701 31 733 <10 1,162 <10 833 41 697 30 1,162 52 794 20 1,789 41 857 41 624 3
June 2, 2015 6,488 10 2,247 31 1,935 31 1,119 41 1,017 20 727 31 650 20 1,541 30 2,247 41 1,086 <10
June 9, 2015 12,003 20 1,086 10 1,658 10 3,076 10 1,145 31 1,298 31 1,162 10 2,142 <10 1,333 109 1,553 62
June 10, 2015 4,106 41
June 16, 2015 10,462 10 2,481 10 2,909 20 2,143 97 1,050 41 1,153 41 2,382 31 3,076 201 3,873 20 3,255 20
June 18, 2015 17,329 31
June 23, 2015 8,164 20 1,956 <10 2,909 10 2,282 84 1,224 <10 1,658 30 1,904 30 15,531 63 3,076 63 1,607 10
June 24, 2015 3,654 107

Print this table (pdf)

Color Key

Colored results in above table signify the following:

GREEN indicates the beach is open - bacterial level results are within State guidelines (pdf).

YELLOW indicates the beach is open, but swimming is not advised - bacterial level results exceed State guidelines (pdf), but are not associated with a known or suspected human sewage release.

RED indicates the beach is closed - bacterial level results exceed State guidelines (pdf) and are associated with a known or suspected human sewage release.

Acronyms

TC = Total Coliform - Most Probable Number (MPN)

EC = Escherichia coli - MPN

Test Results from Previous Years

Russan River Bacteriological Test Results - 2014 (pdf)

Russan River Bacteriological Test Results - 2013 (pdf)

Russan River Bacteriological Test Results - 2012 (pdf)

Russian River Bacteriological Test Results - 2011 (pdf)

About Bacteriological Testing

Samples are tested for levels of total coliform and E. coli (Eschericha coli) bacteria as indicators of water quality. Though these are not considered disease-causing agents, their presence above certain numeric levels is suggestive of the presence of other, difficult to detect and quantify pathogenic microorganisms that can cause health effects. The use of these indicators is an effective way of monitoring the overall well-being of recreational waters.

The term total coliform bacteria refers to a number of bacteria including Escherichia, Klebsiella, Citrobacter and Enterobacter. They are associated with feces of warm-blooded animals and are also present in soil.

E. coli is a type of fecal coliform and is an indicator of fresh fecal pollution. Fecal coliform bacteria are a subgroup of the total coliform group. They are indicators of fecal contamination because they are restricted to the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals. Their use enables separation of bacteria from soil and fecal origin.

The California Department of Public Health has issued the Draft Guidance for Fresh Water Beaches (pdf). It contains recommended bacterial levels for public notification and posting of beaches.

Single Sample Values

Beach posting is recommended when indicator organisms exceed any of the following levels:

  • Total coliforms: 10,000 per 100 ml
  • E. Coli: 235 per 100 ml

Thirty-Day Average Values

Additional sanitary surveys and other related evaluations, including more frequent sampling if levels appear to be on an increasing trend, are recommended when indicator organisms exceed any of the following, based on the log mean of at least 5 equally spaced samples in a 30-day period:

  • Total coliforms: 1,000 per 100 ml
  • E. coli: 126 per 100 ml

Swimmer's Itch (Cercarial Dermatitis)

Although Swimmer's Itch (Cercarial Dermatitis) is not related to bacterial water quality monitoring described above, it is of interest to bathers in fresh water environments, and is worth mentioning here.

During the summer 2000 season, Spring Lake Lagoon experienced an outbreak of Swimmer's Itch. In response to that outbreak, Sonoma County Regional Parks Department solved the problem by removing the flow-through between Spring Lake and Spring Lake Lagoon, and by installing a recirculation system for the lagoon that is equipped with filters and chlorinators (similar to that installed for a public pool). The chlorine residual essentially kills the larval stage of the parasite causing Swimmer's Itch, thus ending the lifecycle. Incidentally, occurrences of Swimmer's Itch have also been reported on occasion at beaches on the Russian River.

Swimmer's Itch is caused by the minute larval stages of certain trematode worms (cercariae) penetrating into the skin of humans resulting in an itchy rash and/or bumps that resemble mosquito bites. The rash is not contagious.

The lifecycle of these worms is such that infected water fowl or other mammals release eggs from the parasite in their feces when the definitive hosts contact water. The eggs hatch and the parasite enters the intermediate hosts, aquatic snails. Free-swimming cercariae emerge from the snails after several weeks and penetrate the definitive hosts. In the case of Swimmers Itch, humans are mistaken for the definitive host water fowl.

Swimmers usually do not feel the worms burrowing into the skin, but once penetrated, the cercariae die causing an allergic reaction and resultant itchy rash. Discomfort is usually short-lived, although it can persist for several weeks. Most cases of Swimmers Itch do not require medical attention. If you have a rash, you may try the following for relief:

  • Use corticosteroid cream
  • Apply cool compresses to the affected area
  • Bathe in Epsom salts or baking soda

To reduce the likelihood of developing Swimmer's Itch:

  • Do not swim in areas where Swimmer's Itch is a known problem or where signs have been posted warning of unsafe water.
  • Do not swim near or wade in marshy areas where snails are commonly found.
  • Towel dry or shower immediately after leaving the water.
  • Do not attract birds (e.g., by feeding them) to areas where Swimmers Itch is a current problem.

Parasites - Cercarial Dermatitis (also known as Swimmer's Itch)
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Test Results Updates

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For current postings, call the Beach Sampling Hotline at (707) 565-6552

Health Topics

Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Contact

Environmental Health and Safety Programs
625 5th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 565-6565
eh@sonoma-county.org

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