Ben Stanton, KDLL – Kenai
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation reports elevated levels of a bacteria at a beach in the City of Kenai. The bacteria is enterococci, which can be transmitted through fecal matter. DEC Water Division program manager Nancy Sonafrank says that a recent test was done through a national effort of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act. The testing was done at Kenai’s North Beach from July 8 to July 11. That was around the time the personal-use dip net fishery began: July 10.
A person infected with the bacteria might have symptoms like stomach aches, diarrhea, or ear, eye, and skin infections. Sonafrank says her department is reminding the public of precautions that she says should always be followed. Wash skin after spending time in the water, rinse fish with clean water, and cook fish to 145 degrees.
If you take part in the dip net fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River, you’ve likely seen the large crowds that gather there on peak days. By some estimates around 10,000 people fit into an area that’s about one square mile.
But Sonafrank says the exact cause of the elevated level of bacteria is not known. The high concentration of people is one possible reason for the high levels.
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