The condition of swimming beaches indicator reflects marine water quality conditions in areas heavily used for recreation. This indicator tracks the percent of swimming beaches that pass swimming standards with no more than one exceedance of the swimming standard during the summer. Swimming beaches not meeting water quality criteria indicate increased risk of people getting sick through gastrointestinal illnesses, respiratory illnesses, and skin infections.
The percent of Puget Sound monitored and core beaches that have no more than one exceedance of the swimming standard during the summer. The number of monitored beaches varies from year to year depending on availability of funding and where water quality issues arise. Core beaches are a subset of all monitored beaches that are sampled every year. Core beaches have been used to assess the trend in the condition of swimming beaches since 2004.
Key Indicator Results
Between 2004 and 2019, there was no upward or downward trend in this indicator. Thus, progress is categorized as 'not improving'.
Since 2004, soon after the program started, many local bacteria problems have been identified and corrected. There are year-to-year fluctuations in marine water quality at swimming beaches, but no clear trend in progress toward the goal.
Although the majority of monitored swimming beaches have met the standards for enterococci fecal bacteria, the target of 100 percent has not been met to date.
To have all monitored beaches in Puget Sound meet EPA standards for what is called enterococcus, a type of fecal bacteria.