No elevated bacteria levels in coastal Ketchikan

This photomicrograph reveals cocci-shaped Enterococcus sp. bacteria taken from a pneumonia patient.

Enterococci bacteria levels have tested below water quality criteria for all nine coastal areas in Ketchikan, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation notes.

DEC employees had collected water quality samples at nine coastal areas in Ketchikan from July 18 through Sept. 13, and the latest tests on Sept. 13 showed all locations meeting the water quality standards for enterococci, a subgroup of fecal streptococci bacteria.

Given those results, the state has suspended bacteria monitoring in the Ketchikan coastal areas until the 2018 summer recreation season.

The enterococci portion of the streptococcus group is considered a valuable bacterial indicator for determining the extent of fecal contamination of recreational surface.

Enterococci bacteria can come from any warm-blooded animal, including birds, seals and dogs, as well as humans. Potential sources of this bacteria in Ketchikan may include wildlife and pet feces, human waste from private and municipal treatment systems, sewer line leakage and/or boats in harbor areas.