Sun, Jun 03, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Check on water quality, agency urges swimmers

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Going to the beach is a popular way to cool off in the summer, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is urging the public to click on its Web site before getting back in the water.

The EPA tests water at popular beaches for two bacteria -- Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE) -- at two-week intervals in the summer in order to determine whether the water quality is safe for swimming.

unacceptable

The first tests conducted this summer revealed unacceptable levels of E. coli at Taichung County's Da-an beach (大安) and Taipei County's Fulong (福隆) beach, the agency said in a statement yesterday.

Both beaches are close to river outlets, which increased their likelihood for an unsafe E. coli level, EPA division director Mou Lih-er (牟麗娥) said.

The testing at Fulong beach on May 27 and May 28 found the concentration of E. coli to be 5,300 per 100ml. Da-an beach had a concentration of 1,100 per 100ml.

The EPA considers water with more than 1,000 E. coli per 100ml unsafe for swimming.

control

Mou said that since controlling pollution is beyond the means of the beach proprietors, the EPA would not impose fines for exceeding the E. coli limit.

Swimmers, however, can protect themselves by going to the EPA Web site at www.epa.gov.tw/wqm for the latest information on bacteria levels before they head for the beach.

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