Officials Tracking Elevated Bacteria Levels at Kenai River Beach

Elevated levels of bacteria have been found in water sampled at a Kenai River beach. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has been working with the city of Kenai to take regular samples, and DEC Environmental Program Specialist Tim Stevens says that while elevated, they are not at dangerous levels. Still, precautions should be taken.

The two types of bacteria found are fecal coliform and enterococci. Both are found in warm blooded animals.

Finding out which one is the source will be one of the next steps in the process. The numbers released Monday are from samples taken on the beach on the south side of the mouth of the Kenai River on Tuesday and Thursday of last week.

The south and north beaches are the popular areas for personal use dip net fishing in July. The city of Kenai is concerned that the large amount of fish waste, and the birds that the waste attracts, might be the cause of the bacteria. But until more data is collected over the course of the summer, the DEC is not prepared to make a conclusion.

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Ben Stanton is a reporter at KDLL in Kenai.

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