OLYMPIA - Is the water quality at your local beach safe for swimming? How would you know? And furthermore, which beaches should be monitored?

The state departments of Ecology and Health are getting ready to pick 60 saltwater beaches to monitor for bacterial contamination, out of more than 500 along Puget Sound and the Washington coast. And they are asking for the public's help in making the selection.

"We have a unique opportunity to check the water quality at some of the more popular marine beaches in Washington, but we don't have enough money to monitor all of them," said Lynn Schneider, who is coordinating the Beach Program for Ecology. "Picking which beaches will get monitored is an important decision, and it would help to know which ones the public wants to know more about."

Four meetings are being held in Western Washington to share information and obtain public comment. All four meetings will last from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The one nearest to the Peninsula is in Westport on Oct. 16, at the Westport City Hall, 506 N. Montesano St.

For more information, contact Lynn Schneider at 360-407-6543 or (lysc461@ecy.wa.gov).

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