Update, Thursday, Aug. 1: Seattle Parks says Matthews Beach and Pritchard Island Beach are set to reopen at noon Thursday. Hooray! Good news in Renton, too: The beach at Gene Coulon Park has reopened!
Update, Thursday, July 25:
The North and South beaches at Discovery Park reopened this week after being closed because of high bacteria levels from a nearby sewage spill.
Matthews Beach, 9300 51st Ave. N.E., also is closed. Seattle Parks says it won't reopen the beach until there it tests clear for harmful bacteria twice, so the earliest reopening would be Friday (July 26).
Pritchard Island Beach, 8400 55th Ave. S., Seattle, closed Wednesday because of high bacteria levels. No estimate was given for reopening.
ORIGINAL POST, July 10:
You can go back in the water at Seattle's Golden Gardens park if you want to.
It's probably not very warm, but at least it's not contaminated with bacteria.
Water activities along the beach at Golden Gardens (and north of there) were off-limits for about a week after a sewage spill contaminated the water. Seattle Public Utilities declared the water "safe" as of July 1. The park had remained open the whole time, and it was safe to walk along the beach, just not to get in the water.
By the way, Golden Gardens is considered a walking/recreation beach and is not specifically a swimming beach. Seattle has nine of those, and they're staffed by lifeguards. Here's where to find everything you need to know: locations, hours, rules, etc.
Other places to get wet:
Meanwhile, another popular swim spot, Gene Coulon beach park in Renton, is closed at least through July 16 because of high bacteria levels. Kennydale Beach Park and the Henry Moses Aquatic Center are nearby, safe and open for swimming.
Does all this talk of contamination make you concerned about your favorite swimming spot? The Golden Gardens closure was very well marked, publicized by Seattle Public Utilities and widely reported in the local media. King County has a very good online resource for checking bacteria and algae levels (and even temperatures) of local beaches. The state Department of Ecology has information on marine beaches and waterways statewide.
And just as a reminder: Sorry to get gross here, but this is need-to-know information. The sewer overflow that affected Golden Gardens was caused by a sewer-line blockage in the North Beach area. Seattle Public Utilities took the opportunity to remind people that, while somethign like tree roots could have been to blame, a major culprit in sewer blockages is non-flushable items. Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. Everything else goes in the trash. Here's a partial list of "everything else:" wipes (even if labeled "flushable"), facial tissue, paper towels, diapers, dental floss, medications.
It's frustrating about the so-called "flushable" wipes, isn't it? Seattle Public Utilities is so serious about this, that they've produced an informative video about just how non-flushable they really are. Check it out.
Meanwhile, we wish you a summer of happy, safe and clean swimming!