Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA Screening Shows Upper Columbia River Beaches Safe for Recreational Use

Release Date: 06/12/2006
Contact Information: Kevin Rochlin, (206) 553-2106, Anthony Brown, (206) 553-1203,

(Seattle, WA - June 12, 2006) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed a risk screening – limited to recreational use only – at fifteen popular beaches along Lake Roosevelt and the Upper Columbia River. The screening revealed that twelve of the fifteen beaches are safely below health-based risk standards for all the contaminants tested, including arsenic, lead, pesticides, and PCBs.

Three northern beaches - Black Sand, Northport and Dalles - had levels of arsenic and/or lead that were slightly above screening levels, however, risks are very low and these beaches should be considered safe for visitors to use.

The screening did not include more intensive uses of the beaches, such as food gathering, fish consumption, or cultural practices. These uses will be evaluated in a comprehensive risk assessment that may take several years to complete.

According to Dan Opalski, EPA Superfund Office Director in Seattle, the sampling results indicate that summer visitors and area seasonal beachgoers can use the beaches without fear of contamination exposure.

“From a health risk standpoint, families can use these beaches safely,” said Dan Opalski. “However, it’s always advisable to take basic safety precautions such as washing hands before eating and rinsing toys and equipment before storage.”

EPA is holding a series of public meetings over the next three days to discuss the screening results with the community:

Monday, June 12, Spokane Tribal Longhouse, Wellpinit, WA, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 13, Northport Grange Hall, Northport, WA, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, June 14, Colville Center, Community Colleges of Spokane, Colville, WA, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Related Links: