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February 8, 2018

County Completes Bacteria Sampling in Port Ludlow

Jefferson County Public Health, in partnership with the Jefferson County Conservation District, finished monitoring in Ludlow Creek and along the Port Ludlow shoreline for fecal coliform bacteria in 2017. This was the first year that the county has done a comprehensive survey of both the creek and shoreline in the Ludlow area.

Fecal coliform bacteria are associated with feces from warm-blooded animals, including humans. They are indicators of potential bacterial and viral diseases. The higher the concentration, the greater the risk of disease. When bacteria levels are high, people can get sick from swimming or other kinds of water recreation. High bacteria levels in marine waters can also put consumers of shellfish at risk.

Twenty stations on Ludlow Creek and several smaller tributaries were sampled once a month for bacteria from October, 2016 to September, 2017. Almost all the samples were well below State maximum standards for fecal bacteria contamination. However, three smaller streams did have some problems. The most noteworthy is Teal Lake Creek that flows from Teal Lake and passes through the golf course and surrounding residential areas to a lagoon on the south side of Ludlow Bay. The station located furthest downstream failed the State standard during the summer months. Two other smaller drainages nearby showed elevated levels as well. Salt Marsh Creek, which drains into the same lagoon as Teal Lake Creek, failed the State standard in the summer. Inner Harbor West Creek, which drains from a small pond into the inner harbor behind the two islands referred to as “The Twins”, also failed the State standard in both winter and summer.

In addition, the shoreline of Ludlow Bay was surveyed from the area just south of Mats Mats to Tala Point. Every stream, seep or pipe that drains water onto the shore was sampled with 78 samples collected in the winter wet season and 29 samples collected in the summer dry season.  A great deal of broken and degraded black flexpipe was found lying on the beach north of the Ludlow Marina. Black flexpipe is common where development occurs and is used to direct storm or other drainage water away from buildings and properties. It is common to see black flexpipe hanging over and reaching down to the bottom of high bluffs. If these aren’t maintained, they tend to break off, causing erosion of the bluff. If they pick up septic field drainage, they could be transporting pathogens to the marine environment.

In the winter we confirmed only one bacteria “hot spot”- a drainage located north of the marina.  We define a “hot spot” as any station having an average concentration of over 500 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water, or any single sample over 1,000 cfu/100 ml. This drainage dried up before more investigations could be made (See Map “Ludlow shoreline Winter”). During the dry season, three additional hot spots were found. These three sites were identified based on single samples over 1000 cfu/100 ml, and subsequent samples showed results below the actionable level (See Map “Ludlow shoreline Summer”).

All of these hot spots were coming from street and storm water drainages or through wooded areas. Leaking sewer lines or on-site septic systems could be potential sources of bacteria, particularly if the levels stay consistently high. Other possibilities could be wildlife sources and pet waste that people don’t clean up.

Here is what you can do to help protect water quality in Port Ludlow: If you have an on-site septic system on your property, have it inspected regularly. This is a State requirement for all septic system owners and the county provides training on how you can become authorized to inspect your own system. Learn more about this in the Septic Systems section of www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org. Also, if you have water drainage pipes that direct water to the shoreline, please regularly inspect and maintain this system. Consider re-directing water away from high bluffs. Repair and clean up broken pipes. Finally, remember to regularly pick up after your pets. Remove wastes from your yard and street where it could wash into our local streams and waterways. Thank you for doing your part to keep Port Ludlow clean and healthy!

JCPH will post the project findings along with other water quality updates for East Jefferson County in the Water Quality section of www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org. The information on Ludlow Creek can be found on the Clean Water Projects page for the Hood Canal Priority Basins Project. This project was funded by a Centennial Clean Water Grant from the State Department of Ecology.

 

January 6, 2018

Increased Flu Activity in Jefferson County 

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. – Flu activity is increasing in Jefferson County and so are hospital visits for flu-like symptoms. Health officials want the public to know when to seek emergency medical care, when to stay home and also urge anyone over 6 months of age who hasn’t been vaccinated this year to get a flu shot now to protect themselves, and others.

Flu vaccine (flu shot) is available for everyone aged 6 months and older, including pregnant women.  Flu shots are readily available at most pharmacy locations and clinics.

Annual flu vaccination is the best method of prevention against illness, followed by covering your cough/proper hand washing and staying home from school or work when you are sick.

Protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated as soon as possible — and by educating yourself, your co-workers and your household about the importance of staying home when sick and practicing good hand washing.

The Flu: What To Do If You Get Sick

Frequently Asked Questions

Flu Resources for Parents

 Flu Resources for High-Risk Groups

Flu Resources for Pregnant Women

Influenza (Flu) Information for Public Health and Healthcare Professionals

 5 Myths About the Flu