Why do we test beach water?
The main goal is to help keep public informed with enough information about Guam’s water quality to make good choices when it comes to swimming. To do this, the Program tests Guam’s recreational waters for microbiological contamination every week. When the results from those tests are returned from the lab, the Program issues an advisory to advise the public against swimming in contaminated waters.
What do we test for?
Guam EPA tests for Enterococcus. Although this is not necessarily a harmful bacteria, it is an indicator that other bacteria may be found in the water. The Enterococcus group is a subgroup of fecal streptococci, which are commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract of all warm-blooded animals. This group is more human specific than fecal coliform, and gives a better indication if there is wastewater contamination in the area. Wastewater contamination can cause acute health problems if you are exposed to it.
What exactly does an “advisory” mean?
An “advisory” is a warning informing the public of the relative water quality of a beach that is monitored by the Agency. These are essentially “swim at your own risk” advisories. BEACH WATCH Advisories do not “close” a beach for recreational activities or the consumption of marine organisms. BEACH WATCH Closures occur with the concurrence of the Guam Department of Public Health if there is a known source of sewage pollution to a beach. Closures will result in the suspension of recreational activities and the consumption of marine organisms.
Technically, an “advisory” means that during that specific week’s sampling, the bacteria concentration at that beach was above the accepted Guam Water Quality Standard for marine recreational beaches. These concentrations increase a swimmer’s risk of becoming ill. Thus Guam EPA recommends the public avoid swimming or wading at that beach to minimize this risk.
Where do we test beach water?
- DEDEDO – Tanguisson Beach
- TUMON – Gun Beach, Naton Beach – San Vitores Beach, Naton Beach – Fujita, Naton Beach – Matapang Beach, Naton Beach – Guma Trankilidat Beach, Ypao Beach
- TAMUNING – Gognga Beach, Dungca’s Beach – Sleepy Lagoon, Dungca’s Beach, East Hagatna Bay – Alupang Towers Beach, East Hagåtña Bay -Trinchera Beach
- HAGATNA – Padre Palomo Park Beach, Hagåtña Channel, Hagatna Channel – Paseo Outrigger Canoe Ramp, Hagåtña Bayside Park
- ASAN – Adelup Beach Park, Adelup Point Beach, Asan Bay Beach
- PITI – Piti Bay, Santos Memorial Park, Outhouse Beach, Family Beach, United Seamen’s Service, Port Authority Beach
- AGAT – Togcha Beach – near Namo River, Togcha Beach – Agat Park Beach, Togcha Beach(near Southern Christian Academy), Bangi Beach, Nimitz Beach
- UMATAC – Umatac Bay, Toguan Bay
- MERIZO – Merizo Pier at Mamaon Channel
- INARAJAN – Inarajan Pool, Inarajan Bay
- TALOFOFO – Talofofo Bay, First Beach, Ipan Public Beach, Togcha Bay
- YONA – Tagachang Beach
- CHALAN PAGO ORDOT – Pago Bay
(Place names as spelled in United States Geological Survey [USGS] maps.)
How will I know if the beach I am at was listed on the advisory
Each monitored beach has a BEACH Watch sign posed at the point of entry. If the sign is green, the beach does not have an advisory. If the sign is yellow, the beach is under advisory. You can also listen for information about beach advisories on the radio or television on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The reports are also sent to both the Marianas Variety and Guam Pacific Daily News. The current advisory is also listed on this site. If you would like to be added to the email distribution list please email the Monitoring team.
What do the signs say?
Beach is NOT under advisory
The green sign will state the beach is monitored weekly for bacteria and levels are within the acceptable values. The sign will be a triangle shape.
Beach IS under advisory
The yellow sign will state you should avoid swimming within a 400 yard radius of the sign. It will also mention that high levels of bacteria have been detected and swimming is NOT advised until bacteria levels return to normal. This sign will be a square shape.