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They are how we protect our special coastal places

01 • 15 • 2015

Short Sands Water Quality Protection

Clean Water Victory! Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is nearing completion on a new septic system at Short Sands beach to address the water quality issues first identified in August of 2009, through the work of the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program (OBMP), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force Program and concerned local ocean users. The old system was not designed to handle increased heavy use and it's failure was contributing to high levels of bacteria in the nearby creeks and popular surf spot at Short Sands beach. The replacement of a failing system is a big victory for improving the water quality for recreational users and an important step to minimizing the impact of recreational use on this special place, located directly adjacent to the newly established Cape Falcon Marine Reserve.

The primary concern with the old septic drain field was it’s age and size. The drain field was never built to accommodate the type of use that the Short Sands parking lot gets today (over 700,000 visits/yr). When complete, the new drain field should have enough capacity to deal with increased use for the next 50 yrs. The system was located as far as possible from both Short Sand Creek and Necarney Creek and has been constructed to minimize the impact on the old growth forest.

To esure the continued protection of water quality in the area, the Portland Chapter has established an ongoing monitoring program through their Blue Water Task Force in partnership with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information on this project:

Short Sands Water Quality Update

Shorts Sands Water Quality Update 2